Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. Living Life on Life's Terms. A Word Press Production.

Archive for April, 2017

Tuesday: The Many Faces of Amazon

tumblr_oloqihYPsT1w3j5abo1_1280

Do you shop on Amazon, from where you live ?

In the quest to be the best looking sporty man who I can be, takes me on the hunt for the latest and greatest sports gear, from around the world. In my purchasing history, I have found that one needs multiple Amazon accounts, spread over all of North America.

Including accounts on Ebay as well.

You need several platforms of purchase power at your disposal. That means all of Ebay, world-wide, and all of Amazon world wide. Because history has taught me severe lessons in shopping off platform.

On a platform you are Guaranteed Product, Insured, and Shipped from a reputable seller. You do not get these assurances shopping on suspect (off platform) sites that look too good to be true when they offer items you cannot find anywhere else.

Buyer Beware …

China and Shanghai are terrible for buyers because the possibility of suspect items, counterfeit and bogus sales are a dime a dozen. And the R.C.M.P. here in Canada saved me some serious cash when I got ripped off for more than $300.00 cad.

After that buying nightmare, I will only shop on a platform that guarantees their sellers and the products they sell.

A while back, I wrote to Amazon about the problems of shopping in Canada. Many products one purchases on Amazon will ship Internationally here to Montreal.

That is not always the case though …

tumblr_oim7e0WleV1tic5iao1_540

When I was shopping for the Nike Hyper Cool Woodland Dark Emerald and Total Orange tights, I saw in this photo, I scoured the world-wide web looking for them. After an exhaustive search world wide, I finally found 1 pair on Amazon U.S.

Sadly, they would not ship this specific item to me here in Montreal. A friend of mine who lives in the U.S. received my package from Amazon U.S. and forwarded the package on to me in Montreal.

I wrote to Amazon to inquire about their shipping strategy and procedures. I sent a lengthy email which got a very extensive reply from an agent at Amazon. And I was directed to look at shipping guidelines and they also offered another platform to buy from as well.

  • There is Amazon.US
  • There is Amazon.CA
  • And There is Amazon Global

The other day, I saw an item of clothing that is HOT, right at the moment, from Under Armour. (Photo above) of the Under Armour Exo Compression Leggings, Men’s Black, Cobalt and Bolt Orange.

I looked around Ebay and Amazon.CA for the item. The list price for this item of clothing started at $200.00 plus shipping and import taxes for a total of $225.00 for one item of clothing.

That is ridiculous. And cost prohibitive.

But I carted the item, nonetheless, because I could not find the item anywhere else.

Until about an hour ago.

I have an Amazon Global Account. That account affords me the ability to shop on the Global Market Amazon Wide, and have it ship directly to me here in Montreal.

Amazon Global runs on the U.S. Dollar. And the Loonie took a HUGE tumble today because of the American Administrations levy on Lumber imports to the U.S. Border politics, affect every area of Canadian Business when it comes to the United States, and what rules they place on our international businesses.

I plugged the item into Amazon Global and was rewarded handsomely.

That $200.00 CAD item on Amazon.CA was selling on Amazon Global for $70.00 U.S. plus taxes, shipping and import taxes. (shipping was free)

I bought that item right away, because it was too good to be true that a $200.00 CAD item was selling for only $70.00 US on another partition of the same Amazon.

In the end I spent $87.00 U.S / $121.00 CAD for a $225.00 CAD item. Saving $100.00 CAD in the end.

Boo Yah !!!

The world runs on Online sales. One must be careful in who one trusts On Line.

On our Indigo/Chapters book site, when you purchase books online from their site, you pay the online price. When I shop in the brick and mortar store here in the city, you pay for stocking, rent, and shelving price, that can run upwards of $30.00 more in purchase price.

I’ve heard it said by people I know, that they won’t shop brick and mortar stores. BUT, they will visit the store, find the item they want, figure out the discount, go back home, and visit the same online version of a brick and mortar, and make their purchases.

It pays to belong to as many wide platform selling sites that you can, because if you are a savvy shopper, there are deals to be found. Those deals come with those particular guarantees that single online websites don’t necessarily offer. Even if the suspected website boast of its guarantees. They don’t necessarily, Guarantee anything.

They just want your money and your account information…

Those dime a dozen Chinese sites are numerous and you can never tell if they are reputable because counterfeiters and bogus sites hide behind trusted web addresses located in Countries, that for the most part, are reputable by reputation.

We have found that bogus Chinese sellers hide behind the CO.UK suffix, or the CO.AU or CO.NZ. You think you are buying from England, Australia or New Zealand, when in reality you are purchasing from a seller that can be located anywhere in the world, and if you are not careful in your shopping choices, you too will be taken for a ride financially.

I shop the EU for specific clothing like sneakers and socks. Sneakers and Socks are BIG business in the Euro Zone. Soccer is as well in the UK and in the Euro Zone. I do shop on single seller sites in the UK and the Euro Zone because I have bought from them before, and once I buy from a trusted site, that is guaranteed, I bookmark and shop there often.

Google translate does very well when shopping internationally in the Euro Zone.

But, you usually get killed on the Exchange Rates on the Euro and the British Pound. That has to be factored in when shopping the Euro Zone.

In my purchase history with Euro sites, I have made purchases and my bank does the conversion for me. When the transaction is slated on my account, they adjust the exchange rate on the day the bank slates my purchase.

I have worked on my skills at seeing a photo, figuring out what the name of the item is, and then locating it within my trusted online platform sites. It is skillful work, to be sure.

A little Tumblr, a little Google, a lot of Amazon and a lot of Ebay.

Not all Websites are just like the others …

If you are not careful, you and your money will soon be parted.

And whatever item you bought, becomes a ghost in the ether …


Monday: You are NOT ALONE any more …

IMG_0234

In the Book of Genesis, God said that it was not good for Adam to be alone, So he took a rib from Adam and created Eve. Adam was no longer alone.

  • How many of us grew up alone ?
  • How many of us are alone ?
  • And how many of us drank ALONE ?

My grandmothers, the two women I hold in my heart, believed in me. And while they were in my life, for those brief years, I was not alone. My father, in his misguided way, thought that we, as a family, were better off :

ALONE …

And over my childhood, alienated every family member out of our lives, so he could shape his family, in his own image, without the influence of anyone else.

As a thirteen year old, loosing that connection to the women who helped me stay alive, amid the violence and alcoholism that pervaded our family, was catastrophic.

For everyone.

I always kept to my room, even when my father took the door off the hinges. I was never alone, my father was always in my face. But there were times, when I was alone. And looking back now, I see how alone I really was.

Everybody knew about the alcoholism. Nobody spoke of it, or offered a solution to the problem. And Nobody wanted to hear what I had to say. Nobody allowed me to speak my mind or my heart.

When I had a job, that job was my life. There were several successive jobs that I really loved, and did well. I was not alone at work. The last job I had before I moved away from home was in a travel agency, where alcohol was served during business hours.

Over the ensuing years, those people I worked with got sober, while I remained a spinning tornado in their lives. In hindsight, none of them offered me “The Solution,” until I found my way to the rooms, by force when Todd saved my life.

I was a lone drinker, however, I drank in a bar, with people around me. I had many bell weather friends, but nobody who knew anything about life beyond drinking, drugging and having sex.

When I moved away to be Gay, I was told, by a shrink, that in order to fit in, I had to drink. So that is what I did. I never found the holy grail. I never found the answers I was seeking or the total acceptance that I was craving.

Being a lone alcoholic is a terrible way to live. Being around people, en mass, was not the answer. Nobody was paying attention, except to know what they wanted to take from me in the end.

It wasn’t until I got sober in 1994, that Todd had come to me, and picked me up off the parking lot pavement and took me in. For that first couple of weeks, he had stationed Danny in my apartment to keep an eye on me when we weren’t working at the bar.

Those first two years, with Todd, were the greatest period of my life. I was not alone any more. Todd was there to show me how to survive. How to live soberly, and he kept me above the water, when everybody else was sinking fast.

As long as He was there, I was fine. It was when he moved away, and I found myself alone, WITH TOOLS, but not having the ability to make things work by myself.

I just could not do it ALONE.

When I returned from my slip, I found a place to live, from a woman who thought it would be good to rent to me so that I would not be alone. And from that apartment, came the job that would change my life.

Still drinking, I had to get to the end. And I did eventually.

The day Troy walked into my life an uttered those simple words …

I did NOT drink today … He led the way into sobriety again, the second time.

When I moved to Montreal, Tuesday Beginners became my home. I went there religiously for the following eleven years. That was the home group that made this life possible. Because my Home Group was hallowed ground.

My first sponsor, David, attached himself to me with an invisible tether. For a year, he took care of me, and I was not alone.

On my first anniversary, he ceded control, and that very night, was the first night I spent with my then boyfriend, who is now my husband.

God spoke and said that “it is not good for Jeremy to be alone …”

I’ve not been alone, from that moment on … To This Day.

There have been times, as I sat, where I am sitting at this very moment, in the middle of the night, as midnight closed in on me, mentally and emotionally, and felt that I was terribly alone with my sorrows, my trials, and my tribulations, when hubby was sick.

As long I was hitting my meetings, I was never alone.

I am better at being alone today. And I love the hours of the day when I am home alone. Because for many hours of the days, weeks, months and years, I am never alone.

I don’t think I could ever live alone again. And I am not sure what I would do if I ever found myself alone, for some UN-forseen circumstances.

The rooms provide.

That is a refrain that I repeat to my friends. The rooms of 2001 and beyond, here in Montreal, are not the same rooms in 2017. People have long since come and gone.

The rooms, and their people, are not as giving as they once were. But there are exceptions to that rule. Because, if you ask, people show up and step up.

That is a given, in many situations.

People today, still have problems asking for help. But I tell my friends that if they need something, anything, to bring it to a room and put it down on the table.

You might never know the results you might get, if you choose NOT to ask them.

In our story tonight, “He lived to drink” a successful, evangelical young man, with promise, God, family and a good job, falls into the addiction to alcohol.

All it took, was that FIRST drink, on his FIRST visit to a cocktail bar with friends from school.

From that point on, he was off and running.

He ran so far, that he ended up on skid row …

“It still did not register that the drinking might be the cause of all of my misery. I sold my blood. I prostituted myself; I drank more. I became homeless and slept in the bus and train terminals. I scrounged cigarette butts off the sidewalks and drank from a common wine bottle with other drunks. I drank my way to the men’s municipal shelter and made it my home. I panhandled. By this time I lived only to drink. I did not bathe or change clothes; I stank; I became thin and ill; I had begun to hear voices and accepted them as death omens. I was frightened, arrogant, enraged, and resentful of man, God, and the universe. there was nothing else to live for, but I was too frightened to die …”

It was at this point that a woman who was a social worker on skid row and a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous sat me down in her office and told me her story – how she drank, what happened, and how she got sober. No one had ever done this before.

I had been been preached to, analyzed, cursed, and counseled, but no one had ever said, “I identify with what’s going on with you. It happened to me, and this is what I did about it.” She got me to my first A.A. meeting that same evening.

Once our man, a black man, accepted goodness and love into his life, and he opened his heart to his fellows and later God, He realized that he was not alone.

And it is for this reason, in A.A., that you are not alone any more …

And that you never have to drink again …


Friday: Tolerance … And It’s Price

love

 

Sadly … Another friend of mine from my former second fellowship has relapsed.

That would be three in total …

It is a common theme over the past months, of people we know, very well, from around town, are stuck, and have either gone back out and are still out, or as in tonight, a friend I know well, for many years, who had some time, decided to jump out of a window and use again.

If you have decided what we want and are willing to go to any length, then you are ready to take certain steps.

Addicts and Alcoholics are terribly INTOLERANT people.

And the Friday meeting, is one of those meetings, that has been through the crucible of intolerance. In as many years, we have all stayed around, through adversity and intolerance, we survived.

Intolerance has cost us a great deal over the years. People with time, deciding at one point to be intolerant of some who come to that meeting, because they feel welcomed, were, at one point, asked to leave, because of intolerance of some of our number.

Tonight, one of the men who fled that drama, was sitting in the room. I have not seen him in many many months.

Everyone sitting at that table tonight, must have been thinking about what happened to us, a while back, when friends became enemies, and silence fell and people fled that meeting.

Because of INTOLERANCE.

God, in his infinite wisdom has done for us, what we could not do for ourselves.

Wisdom speaks to me tonight and says … If you stay, and you pray, God Will Move.

Once again, I am sitting in a room, and God is moving among us.

Last year, intolerance raised its ugly head and disbanded an entire community of people, sending people running for the hills.

Sadly, three of those intolerant people, used and drank again. And they have, over the past few weeks, returned to the sanctity and acceptance of the Friday meeting.

Is that Odd or is that God ????

I left a community, and people left me in return, because of intolerance.

I remained at the Friday meeting, making it my home group some time ago and I have been sitting in that room, doing service, and waiting on God.

God has not disappointed …

“Gradually we began to be able to accept the other’s sins as well as their virtues. We coined the potent and meaningful expression “Let us always love the best in others – and never fear their worst.”

“Finally we begin to see that all people, including ourselves, are to some extent emotionally ill as well as frequently wrong. When this happens, we approach true tolerance and we see what real love for our fellows actually means.”

Shit happens in meetings, and more especially in business meetings.

Normal everyday alcoholics, while sitting in a meeting, practicing tolerance, will step into a business meeting, and the gloves will come off and dust begins to fly …

Tolerance goes right out the window.

I’ve seen what intolerance does to people who are terribly intolerant. And at one point, I pointed that out to a particular friend, and in doing so, cost me several friendships.

Some of those friends decided against their better natures to use again.

This is what happens when communities fall apart, and contacts disappear.

People use again, because they feel that they cannot talk to you because of

  • FEAR
  • SHAME
  • EGO

I sat with that friend, before the meeting, and I am sure that look of pity crossed my features when he told me that he was just a week clean and sober.

And I asked one question … What did you NOT do that you should have DONE ?

Those answers are always the same.

A Room is a Furnace. A Crucible. A Testing Ground. An Ego Buster. A Humility Teacher.

We are all wounded, one way or another. And at times, the best of us, gets swallowed up by the worst of us. And usually that happens in front of and to our friends, who are closest to us.

The chair spoke tonight and he said … We are evilest to those closest to us, and we are gracious and accepting to a perfect stranger …

He also added: Fear leads to Anger, Anger leads to Hate, and Hate leads to Suffering …

We quote the Jedi in our meeting on Friday.

All I can do is be present.

 

 

 

 


Thursday: Good for another Year !

tumblr_ombbgjnhan1qbrivdo1_540

Today, I paid my yearly domain fees. And we embark on another year of writing. The first post on this blog was posted on November 30th 2006. That is 11 years worth of writing. And today begins year number 12.

Earlier today, Face Book reminded me of things I have written in the past, that back then, were cross posting across all my social media. Today, it does not, except Twitter. On April 20th 2009, I wrote an extensive post on the Gospel of John. And as I re-read that passage today, I was amazed at how academically oriented I was, because I was still in University at that time. And I thought to myself …

I can’t believe I wrote that post.

It was amazing to me today, to see what and how I was writing throughout my university career. I mean, I don’t write like that today, except once in a blue moon when I really write something that is useful and pertinent.

I only kept a few of my course folders from university when I was studying Scripture and the Gospels and my Gnostic class notes.

***** ***** *****

Last weekend, I spent 5 days with Mama and Lu. Part of that time was spent crafting with Lu. Play Doh, Coloring, Puzzles, Markers, Stickers, so forth and so on. I had not touched a coloring book, oh, in ages, I guess. Mama told me that she found coloring with Lu to be really therapeutic and calming. So one night we sat and colored together and I left my pages tacked to the refrigerator there at home for them to look at.

Today, while out shopping, I went into our local Art Shop, which is on the ground floor of the mall, and they had a HUGE selection of Adult Art Therapy coloring books. I looked through all of them until I found one that appealed to me. In the end, I came away with 100 Mandalas.

61C41Yz8CyL

What is a Mandala ?

Oriental Art. a schematized representation of the cosmos, chiefly characterized by a concentric configuration of geometric shapes, each of which contains an image of a deity or an attribute of a deity.

With that book, I selected a deluxe set of colored pencils, instead of markers, because some of the art is very intricate and requires a fine hand with color.

If you haven’t colored since you were a kid, I highly recommend it. Turn off the computer and the tv, turn off your phone, and spend an hour coloring. You will feel so invigorated, it may change the way you spend your days.

So that is a thing …

This evening we sat a small group of folks. Passover and Easter have come to an end, and we were missing a good number of regulars. And tonight we heard a young lady speak. We are taught that we never say NO, unless we just can’t get up there and talk.

I’ve spoken before about the trials and tribulations of our young men and women. Young people in their twenties, going into their thirties, have difficulty finding their ways into sobriety and life, when they are so young. Unlike a good number of men and women who are much older than they are.

A young person, coming in on their first pass, into a room full of old people IS daunting.

Because they don’t see anyone like themselves. And in the suburbs and locations Off Island, many of those far off communities are filled with older folks who have moved off island to either retire or raise their kids away from the city. Our young lady grew up off island, in the burbs, to parents who were in the program while she grew up.

Kids being kids, we cannot, as members, get in the way of their spiritual journeys, I’ve heard it said by parents, in the program, while raising kids, that yes, they brought their kids to meetings early on, and yes, those parents can be positive role models for their kids to … Not to Do What We Did…

In the end though, they had to allow their young people to do what they needed to do, as in grow up and move away, go to school. They, as parents, could only do so much, without blatantly saying … Anything.

One night our young lady heard her mother tell her that:

Well, you know, You have the ISMS …

Having family in the program while we are drinking, can be both a blessing and a curse. But the one thing that stuck with her early on is this …

She could not enjoy her drinking while she tried to control it, And she could not control her drinking while she was enjoying it …

A conundrum for sure …

In the end, at twenty seven, she made it in. And in a couple of months will celebrate three years. Having to get up and tell people what it was like, what happened and what it is like now, she told us all the things she is NOT doing concerning her sobriety. Which spoke to her, telling her that she really had nothing to say, because she was resting on her laurels and really is not engaged as she should be, and she knew that going into tonight.

They tell us and the book says: If you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it then you are ready to take certain steps…

I know for me, in years One through Twelve, I was going to meetings, working my steps, and going through the motions. In year twelve is when Bob from NYC sparked a fire under my ass and told me what I needed to do.

The Three, Seven and Eleven Shuffle …

Go to your Big Book … Copy out the Three, Seven and Eleven Prayers, right from the book, and post them where you will see them every day.

Some days, prayer is hard in coming. Some days I cannot be bothered. And some days, I cannot pray at all. But I see those words daily. They are on my computer … Where I put them almost four years ago.

Sometimes I just read the words. Sometimes I pray the words. Either way, I am taking the forward action of acknowledging the word printed in front of me.

I was told that if I did that, that my life would change. And in a matter of months, God shifted the cosmos for me and indeed, my life did change.

And that life is still in motion.

That was the advice I gave the crowd tonight as I gave away the Desire Chip ….

If you do this, and you pray, and then return to page 164 and read and re-read A Vision for You, you will know what you need to move forwards, and with that knowledge of what you really have to offer another human being, when your bank is full, then God will bring people to you..

In His Time and in His Wisdom…

It never fails …


The Gospel of John – Revisited April 20, 2009

john-icon
Jesus Teaches Nicodemus – Jn. 3:1-8

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

**********

In the Gospel of John, there is no mention of miracles, as in the other Gospels. Miracles in John are called “signs” and we can see here in this reading from today that John is telling a story of Jesus evident here is the High Christology of John. No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Jesus is talking about things above, not things of the earth.

The narrator gives an explanation of ambiguous statements. There are literal and non-literal understandings, and also spiritual meanings. In John 3:1-3, we have the statement being born from above or born again, this is a spiritual or celestial birth. Nicodemus misunderstands Jesus, and the author of the Gospel plays on this passage.In this discourse between Jesus and Nicodemus (1:21) (3:28-30, 36) the information is not adequately integrated. (11-13 – 31-36) there is an opposition between earth and heaven.

Let us look further into the Gospel of John:

There is a difference between John and the synoptic Gospels.

  • John the Baptist’s witness of Jesus (1:19-34)  John the Baptist is never named “The Baptist” in John
  • Jesus’ purification of the Temple (2:12-22) this is placed at the beginning of John, but is found further on in the synoptics
  • The feeding of the 5,000 (6:1-13)
  • Jesus walks on water (6:16-21)
  • Peter’s confession of Jesus (6:66-71)
  • Mary’s anointing of Jesus at Bethany (12:1-8)
  • Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem (12:12-19)
  • Jesus’ last supper (13:1-30) Jesus washes feet
  • Passion and Resurrection Narratives (Jn 18-20)  The discussion between Pilate and Jesus’ crucifixion scene

Miracles in the fourth Gospel:

Only 2 of the 29 synoptic miracles are found in John. The feeding of the 5000 and Jesus walking on water. Five other “signs” are absent in the synoptics

  1. Water into wine (2:1-11) Mary is named Mother of Jesus
  2. Healing of the Royal Officers son (4:46-54) maybe (Mt 8:5-10)
  3. Healing of the man at Bethzada (5:1-9) on the sabbath
  4. Healing of the blind man (9:1-7)
  5. Resurrection of Lazarus (11:33-44) This action seals the death of Jesus

Chronology of the Fourth Gospel:

There is one journey to Jerusalem in the synoptics (1 year) yet John mentions 3 passover feasts (approximately 3 years) John (2:13, 5:1, 6:4, 7:10, 10:22-23,11:55 and 12:1-12)

  • Jn 2:13 – The Purification of the Temple  in Jerusalem
  • Jn 5:1 – The festival of the Jews – Jerusalem visit once again
  • Jn 6:4 – Passover mentioned – Jesus feeds the 5000
  • Jn 7: 2-11 – Jesus goes to Jerusalem
  • Jn 10:22-23 – Feast of Dedication (In the Temple) Jerusalem
  • Jn 11:55 – Passover
  • Jn 12:1-12 – Jesus is going to come to Jerusalem

John has access to other materials. There are tensions in John (problems) it’s not about chronology but Theology in John.

Johannine Double Christology: everything that pertains to the identity of Jesus Christ. Christology much more present, not so much ethics of the kingdom of God, focuses more on faith, the only prerequisite for eternal life.

John 20:30-31

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

This you see the Subjunctive aorist – “That you may come to believe”
Here you see the Subjunctive present – “These are written so that you will continue to believe”

There is something more in John about Jesus. (Jn:1-18) refers to Jesus divine origin – this inclusion refers to Jesus having a divine origin with God which comes back at the end of the Gospel, on the part of the doubter (20:28) “My Lord and My God.”

**********

The Gospel of John was written in stages or redacted in stages.

  1. Pre-Johnannine (John) traditions were independent traditions from the synoptics (record of sayings and deeds)
  2. Kernel of the Johannine traditions basically is or represents expansion of stage 1. They added Joahnnine theology also from the people who were preaching at that time.
  3. The actual redaction of the Gospel – the writing
  4. A second edition of the Gospel
  5. And we end up with the final edition of the Gospel (chapter 21)

From a Source perspective John was not a one shot writing. The prologue in John is the interpretive key to John. There is the community of the Beloved Disciple.

AUTHOR – is not necessarily the writer (21:24) from whom received the tradition – the message giver.
EVANGELIST – The writer composes the work elements of tradition recording of the author and put tradition in narrative form this adds theological flair.
REDACTOR – is the one who completed the editing work of the evangelist, there may be more redactors.

The authorship of the Gospel of John: Was the Gospel of John written by the Disciple whom Jesus Loved?

Jn 13:23 – Only the Beloved Disciple knows who will betray Jesus
19: 26-27 – He was at the foot of the cross
20:2 – At the Tomb
21:7 – Redactional chapter – fishing with Peter
21:20-24 – Testimony of this person – person who wrote the Gospel received testimony from the Beloved Disciple.

The Disciple whom Jesus Loved:

13:23 The Beloved Disciple
19:26-27 – Beloved Disciple identified with Mother
Jn. 20:22-23 The Outpouring of Spirit – Johannine Pentecost, the result will be the mission.
Jn. 19:30 – Jesus Giving up his Spirit – the Gospel is written for “insiders”

The Mother of Jesus and the Beloved Disciple are representative of the Johannine community. The symbols of water and the symbols of the spirit (Jn. 7/ 20:20-23) When Jesus dies – he gives up his spirit. Everything happens at the Cross – The cross is the moment where Jesus dies and returns to the Father. When the Son of Man will be lifted up (on the cross) The Christology of the Son of Man ( refers to Daniel chapter 7 ).

Christology of the Son of God

Jesus is more than the Messiah, carries attributes that traditional Jews would have given to the Messiah. The Son of God carries glory and power of the Father and the only begotten son.

Johannine Christology of the “agent of the Father” Judicial clauses – Jesus is the plenipenitentiary – the mediator. Someone sent with the power of the one who sent him.

Jewish law elaborated a Charter of Rights, responsibility of the one who was sent. Responsibility clauses are discernable (sender and agent) the relationship between Jesus and the Father – Judicial Christology.

Mandate Clause:
The existence of the mission. Choose the right representative – the son or elder son. The person invested with full rights and the same authority of the sender, the Father in John is the sender – Jesus is the one who is sent. (Jn. 3:31-34, Jn. 5:21-23, Jn. 6:39, Jn. 13:3, Jn. 17:10)

The Judicial Equality Clause: (Jn. 10:30,38, 12:45)
There is a judicial equality between the sender and the agent this explains a series of passages – (Jn. 5:23, 12:44, 13:20, 15:23 ) There is an equality between Jesus and the Father. (Jn. 13:16, 15:20, 14:28)

We would never know the Father except through Jesus

The Obedience of the Agent Clause:
The agent had to be faithful and obedient. (4:34, 6:38) “I come to do the will of him who sent me” (7: 16-18, 18:28-38, 12:49-50, 14:24, 5:43) Jesus only teaches what he receives from the Father.

The Return and Reckoning Clause:
Mandate – equality – responsibility – return with an account. This is the theme of the return of Jesus to the Father. (13 – 17) (13:3) In John 17:1-4 Jesus knows his work is done, Jn. 17:6 it is made known to the Father.

Why is Jesus the Plenipenitentiary – to introduce the Father

Prologue 1:1-2 and the word was turned to God (in the Greek) There is an auto revelation of God – seen through the prophets of the Old Testament. This word will become incarnate. Jesus will be the one to incarnate the word – the culminating point – that Jesus comes from the Father. The word (Divine Autorevelation) Christology of the Son of Man.

The Son of Man differs from the Son of God

Daniel 7:13 apocalyptic literature. Designates Jesus as eschatalogical judge – (Synoptics – Divine Heavenly Being)

John – Son of Man titled 1:50-51 The ladder of Jacob in Genesis – the some of man is associated to heaven, ascending and descending. (3:11-15) Son of Man related to heaven because he is descended a heavenly being.

Numbers 21:4-9 – The Son of Man will be lifted up, believe in him (the Son of Man) elevation of the Son of Man. The source for eternal life. John 3:11-15 (Born from above) (2Cor 5:17, Gal 5:6) Being someone new. John 6:61-62 Ascending to where he was before. The elevation of man has to be seen, taken note of. John 12:20-36 The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

John 12:31-33 Eschatalogical judgment coming. The Prince of the earth (the devil) will be debunked.

We have here the double existence of lifting up the Son of Man. Lifted up on the cross – The cross as way to return, to ascend – everything happens at the crossas supreme king. (the crucifixion and elevation)

This is a realized eschatology – In John the eschatological moment comes at the cross. The elevation is the death. Why does the writer need a second Christology?

The cross is a shame ( Deuteronomy 21:22-23)

Various Laws

If a man guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body is hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse. You must not desecrate the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.

Cursed be the one who is hung on wood.

Here the cross becomes a participant – not a scandal for the Son of Man. The two Christologies integrate the cross, the Son of Man is returning to God to give a report. For the Son of God – the cross is a problem.

Jesus is in total control of his destiny. John 13:27 …

We find a lower Christology in the Synoptic Gospels Mt, Mk, Lk – The Son of God is linked to the Messiahship. in John Jesus is the plenipenitentiary of the Father. Jesus the Son of Man is lifted up – The death of Jesus with his elevation is Glorification encapsulated in the Crucifixion scene. It is a relaized eschatology – at the cross.


Special Essay: Man, Friend, Father, Guide

IMG_0198

This is my little Easter Bunny, isn’t she cute ???

When I got sober again in 2001, the thrust of crossing that bridge into sobriety, meant that I also decided to grow up and become a man.

A real man.

A man I would be proud to be.

For many years, I really did not know what that looked like, but the one man I learned from was Todd. He was a real man. A man I loved and wanted to be like, in every way possible, because, in him, he was love, compassion and strength personified.

He was GOD.

It is now almost sixteen years since I made that decision to cross that bridge. And I have not looked back since. I’ve learned a great many things in the past stretch of time.

What Todd gave me, was the education in knowing how to take care of another human being. I learned how to be present. I learned how to be courageous, to be bold, to be smart, and how to love unconditionally. I learned how to serve. I learned how to give from my heart at all times, to the most number of people, to the best of my abilities.

My father had fatal flaws. But like my father, I provide. I hear him in my mind speak to me, at least, the few phrases I use on a daily basis.

Once you speak words, you can Never take them back.

Sadly he did not listen to his own advice when it came to me.

  • I don’t speak falsehoods
  • I don’t speak negativity
  • I don’t speak arrogantly
  • I don’t speak from ego

When we get sober, not only do we put down the drugs and the drink, we put down all that we used to be, in order to become who we are meant to be.

That is a daunting process for both men and women.

In the beginning, we may not know just how far we can go, and/or/ how far we need to go. The sky is the limit. And I think that depends on just how much of life we take a bite out of as our lives progress.

How far can we go ? Well that depends on you.

How far do we need to go ? As far as is needed.

Relationships are always dicey in recovery. Because the recovery mixture may differ.

You might find someone in the rooms, and you might find someone outside the rooms. Getting that mixture right is the challenge. Both participants in relationship need to figure out what each of us needs to bring to the table to make a relationship work.

Marriage is a JOB. A FULL TIME JOB. Marriage is work.

For us, at least, marriage was not a cake walk by any means. But we succeeded.

When Mama walked into my life a little over three years ago, I had a few months to begin a friendship with her before she went back to New Foundland to have Lu.

After Lu was born, I took the step of solidifying our relationship. I made the decision that I was going to invest in Mama and the baby. That choice is one of the most important decisions I have ever made.

If Todd were to see me today, I am sure he would be proud of me.

The baby is a full-time job.

The day I arrived in St. John’s, Lu was at daycare, so I had a few hours alone with Mama to get oriented to the schedule and the routine. And we were both pleasantly surprised when she got home with grandma. She took to me immediately.

IMG_0200

Our days usually began around 6:30 in the morning or 7:00 if we were lucky. We at least had time to drink a cup of coffee, before we were off to the races. The day usually began with crafts: like Play Doh on the kitchen floor at 7:00 a.m.

If it were a regular day, Lu went to day care with Grand ma around 8:00 a.m. for the day and come home around 4:00 p.m. Having grand ma living just up the road is key to this routine working, because when needed, we can hand Lu off to them for a few hours.

They have the TV with the TREE HOUSE channel.

READ: Crack for babies …

Since it was a holiday weekend, we had Lu 24/7. And let me tell you, that having a three-year old with a solid streak of attitude can be a challenge. Lu is determined to do her own thing, whether you like it or not. And her mood will turn on a dime, if you piss her off or say NO.

She knows the word NO, it is one of her favorites.

Mama does not have a tv, nor cable, nor a computer in the house. And she does not want either of them in the future. Which means that if you are home with Lu, you are interacting with her ALL DAY LONG !

IMG_0279

I colored these Christmas pages out of one of Lu’s coloring books.

You don’t know how calming and wonderful it is to sit and color for an hour with a child. I loved every minute of it.

We read, we play, we color, we dance. If we are lucky, we get an afternoon nap.

If we don’t get that nap, dinner usually follows around 6:00 p.m. Bath time around 7:30 and bedtime, AH BLESSED BED TIME comes right around 8:00 p.m. on a good night.

I can’t tell you how good it felt to be disconnected from my computer and social media for five days. I really did not miss it. However, when I got home, I thought to myself that I was not sure I could live a disconnected life 24/7.

I had a book, SHANTARAM by Gregory David Roberts with me. I cannot tell you just how GOOD this book is. At 936 pages, it is a daunting read.

If you read any book this year, Shantaram is the one to read. Because there is an ample sequel to that book on the store shelves right now.

This weekend proved to me that I can be daddy, and do it well. On Easter Sunday, Lu had a meltdown in front of the family. It was not pretty. And in the end, I ended up fireman carrying her out of the house and tossing her into her car seat and bringing both Lu and Mama home.

They both passed out from emotional stress. Mama in her bed and Lu on the living room floor, because she passed out sitting at the table with me coloring. I laid out a blanket and some pillows and I let her sleep until she woke up.

Which meant I got a few hours to myself to lay on the sofa and baby sit while I read my book.

Having a child is not easy. Being a father/or/father figure is not easy either.

But I have learned just what kind of man I really am, because of the words I speak and the actions I take. I have virtue. I have faith. I have smarts.

All that I am, is an amalgamation of all the men I know. The good and the bad. Then I get to decide what I am going to do based on the decisions that need to be made.

Mama and Lu are full-time decisions to be ME.

In addition to my husband, Mama and Lu are the most important people in my life. Because I have been Lu’s father since the day she was born, because the man who participated in creating her, wanted us to abort her when Mama was pregnant.

Today, we are fighting in court for Lu’s child support.

And we know, right now, that we might not get anything close to what we want from him, however, I have stated my case to our lawyer. The hard, unvarnished truth of a man who is a Legend Liar and irresponsible and blind to his obligations as the biological father of our little girl.

In the end, she will be my daughter. But first he will pay his dues.

By the Law.

Which makes me the best man Lu has in her life besides grand pa.

I am the man I am because of that first decision to grow up and become a MAN.

I would not have changed anything.

St. John’s is a beautiful place to live.

Just saying ….


Tuesday: Ferryland Iceberg Photos

ferryland b

ferryland c

ferryland d

ferryland e

I thought you would like to see the view I saw in Ferryland over the weekend last.


Monday: St. John’s NL Review – Ferryland

Picture courtesy Rhonda O'Keefe Arsenault, Ferryland Cottage

Courtesy: Rhonda O’Keefe Arsenault – Ferryland Cottage – Ferryland Iceberg, St. John’s.

I am home from my Easter Holiday’s with Mama and Lu. The weather was good, for the most part. But St. John’s, being on the Eastern Edge of the Island, weather is always hit or miss, depending on when the wind begins to blow.

I arrived on Thursday afternoon, and Lu was very surprised to see me. She actually was good for three days. On Easter Sunday, knowing she was on a build up to detonation, we were on pins and needles all through dinner. We had to extricate her from grand ma’s house and it was not pretty at all. We got her home, and both Mama and Lu passed out from exhaustion.

Little St. John’s Factoid … There are seagulls in the city proper, since we are just off the ocean. Garbage pickup was delayed a day for the holiday, what I learned about garbage in St. John’s is this … You don’t just put your trash out for pick up by itself. Because the seagulls will destroy your garbage and strew garbage all over the street.

So everyone has a NET that they cover their bins and garbage with, to avoid the seagull attacks on garbage day. If you don’t NET your garbage, you will be fined by the city.

Garbage strewn all over the neighborhood is unsightly.

IMG_0213

On Friday, we took a tour of Signal Hill. There was a little ice on the coast, and you could see the Ice Pack just off the Eastern Shore of the Island. You can see a small ice berg almost center frame to the right just off the coast.

I took a boatload of photos. I won’t upload all of them because they are single photos and the blog does not have an album setting for multiple photos.

The First Image above is of the Ferry Land Iceberg that was siting just off the coast in Ferryland, where I was staying with Mama. It was about twenty minutes from the house. I did not take the photo. There were massive traffic jams on the island, with people coming from all over to see it.

Sadly, there were no boat tours during my stay, but they start up on May 1st. Since the icebergs are coming down the coast very early this year. The fisheries operations are all out of whack because of Ice. Many of the fishermen were called back to port due to the Ice Pack and Icebergs coming down the coast.

IMG_0220

On my flight into St. John’s we flew over the Eastern shore of the Island and there were massive icebergs out at sea as we flew over them. An Iceberg close to shore will affect the weather in St. John’s.

IMG_0217

IMG_0214

IMG_0225

IMG_0221

IMG_0226

This is out little tour group on Signal Hill, and a very big furry New Foundland dog that was with his owner when we got to the Hill. Signal Hill and the port in Downtown St. John’s. The Oil and Fishery ships are HUGE … Not as huge as a modern cruise ship, but HUGE for a sea going vessel.

I flew home this afternoon. The weather had turned sour, with fog, rain and it was cold. While I was sitting at the gate, I watched a military transport Hercules C-130 Military transport fly out of the airport. It hung up the entire airport traffic, as incoming helicopters from the oil patch and regular commercial aircraft use the airport all together.

Like the trip out, there was total cloud cover from coast to coast. On the way in, when we got to the Eastern Coast of New Foundland, the clouds parted and gave us the view of the Icebergs just off the Eastern Shore of the Island.

More to come later on. Have to get ready to go.

 

 


World-renowned AIDS researcher Dr. Mark Wainberg dies suddenly

mark

When I moved to Montreal, Dr. Mark Wainberg was researching AIDS drugs, like he had in decades past. I was one of his test patients at the Montreal General. Every drug that came out of his lab, went through Doctor Chris (my doctor today) and people like me, for the drugs to get to the world market.

I mourn his passing.

Dr. Mark is directly connected to my life as I live it today.

One of Canada’s leading AIDS researchers has died suddenly in Florida.

Dr. Mark Wainberg was in a Miami suburb with family on Tuesday when he had difficulty while swimming.

According to the Bal Harbour Police Department, his son noticed Dr. Wainberg was missing, swam out to where he was last seen, and brought him to shore.

“The victim had been in the water with his son, his son had lost sight of him. He didn’t know where his father was, so he swam out to where he had last seen his father – was able to retrieve him and swam back to shore with him,” said Acting Chief Mike De La Rosa.

“Other beachgoers assisted in bringing the victim onto the beach which is when we arrived. After fire-rescue was treating the victim, he was transported to hospital.”

Firefighters continued performing CPR as Dr. Wainberg was taken to hospital, where he died.

Acting Chief Mike De La Rosa could not confirm if Dr. Wainberg drowned or had some other medical condition that led to his death.

Groundbreaking research

Dr. Wainberg was a world-renowned researcher who began his work on HIV/AIDS in the 1980s

His group discovered that 3TC, also known as Epivir and lamivudine, was effective in treating HIV.

As the founder and director of the McGill University AIDS Centre, and the Lady Davis Institute at the Jewish General Hospital, he oversaw research into HIV and AIDS in conjunction with dozens of scientists and several companies, including BioChem Pharma.

He co-chaired the International AIDS conference in 1984, and went on to become the president of the International AIDS Society from 1998 to 2000.

He also organized the 13th International Congress on AIDS in South Africa.

Wainberg frequently lobbied for more funding and more education about HIV and AIDS — which is one reason he chose South Africa as a place to hold an international conference.

Friends and colleagues said Dr. Wainberg was fantastic about encouraging people in their research.

“Thirty-five years after the discovery of AIDS and Dr. Wainberg would talk about AIDS like it was the first days,” said Dr. Rejean Thomas.

“He would transfer his passion to colleagues, to young doctors.”

Dr. Thomas said Dr. Wainberg spoke last week at a conference in Montreal, and told him he had no plans to retire.

“Working hard with passion, that would describe him. And doing for the patients, first thing, doing for the patients,” said Dr. Thomas.

His recent work focused on trying to cure HIV infection and working on different strains of the disease and their drug resistance.

Dr. Wainberg said the world should also spend more money on getting antiviral drugs to the estimated 7 million people living with AIDS in the world who cannot afford treatment.

International recognition

In 2001 Dr. Wainberg was named to the Order of Canada, and made an officer of the National Order of Quebec in 2005.

He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2000, and in 2008 was named a Chevalier of France’s Legion d’honneur.

Wainberg is also known for advocating to change a controversial policy in Canada that barred all gay men from donating blood.

In a 2010 article published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Wainberg and his co-authors suggested the policy should be modified to allow gay men in long-term, monogamous relationships to donate blood.

Two years ago Dr. Wainberg was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for revolutionizing the understanding of HIV/AIDS at the medical and political levels.

Born in 1945, Dr. Wainberg would have turned 72 on April 21.


Wednesday: I’m Leaving On a Jet Plane

10-HeIsRisen( by He Qi, China)

Hello Peeps … Very early tomorrow morning, ala 5:00 a.m. I will be on my way to the Montreal Airport and traveling to St. John’s New Foundland for five days. I will return on Monday afternoon.

The blog will be dark for that period of time, due to no internet or computer on the other end. So let us contemplate my favorite Gospel story of the Resurrection of Jesus, appearing to Mary Magdalene.

Have a Blessed Easter …

John 20: 11-18

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene

Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.


Monday: Window of Opportunity

pro direct soccer woodland tight

One definition of a bottom is the point when the last thing you lost or the next thing you are about to lose is more important to you than booze. That point is different for everyone, and some of us die before we get there.

Our young man, at age nineteen, walked through a second story window, and had fallen twenty feet head first into a concrete window well.

He got sober after that event… YOUNG !!!

How many people get that chance to figure out their lives so young, find the rooms, and live successfully ?

Very Few

There are young people in our rooms. Some of them have stuck it out, on the first pass, and made it. However, many of them made several passes, and are in the room, not so sanguine as they once were. Then there are those who came in, cleaned up, figured out they were good, left the rooms, and never returned.

Some of those young people are dead now.

Had I figured out, at twenty-eight, how to do this when I found myself alone, at that time, I would be twenty-three years sober today. Those times, were fraught with complications, and sober groups, were not so accommodating to people with AIDS.

The good thing about hindsight is this … I have recorded, on this blog, every single lesson I learned during those first two years I was sober, the first time. And on this second pass, with proper support and people in our meetings here, I’ve succeeded very well.

But I know, I don’t have another recovery within me. I know that at any point, life can turn on a dime.

The book says quite succinctly:

There will come a time, when the only thing that stands between YOU and a DRUG or a DRINK, will be your Higher Power.

Which is why, we need to connect with something Greater than Ourselves, sooner rather than later. I know, from experience lately, that those folks I see often, who are not spiritually connected, have flirted with crack pipes and heroine and alcohol.

The other night, I sat with a friend and told him what he really needed to do, if he wanted to succeed and not pick up that crack pipe again. Whether he follows that direction is still yet to be seen.

Funny that while we were reading this story, I got the portion that read:

“The speaker said, If you’re an apple, you can be the best apple you can be, but you can never be an orange. I was an apple all right, and for the first time I understood that I had spent my life trying to be an orange. I looked around at a room filled with apples and, if I was understanding the speaker, most of them were no longer trying to be oranges.”

I pride myself in knowing that if I wear something, I am completely sure that not another person in this city, owns, the same clothing I do.

I was wearing my orange outfit tonight. Everybody laughed at me.

The clock is ticking down to my departure for New Foundland on Thursday morning. While at the meeting, one of our guys showed me pictures of St. John’s from his recent trip to The Rock and what I can expect and what I should see while I am there.

When we come into the rooms, in whatever state we find ourselves in, and whatever our bottoms were, The Promises start materializing for each one of us.

Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

Our writer talks about the fourteen year mark, as he is writing his story. He was married in year nine, and had his first child in year twelve.

My route into sobriety was not easy. I persisted though, and the final promise that eluded us for years and years, finally came to pass in year thirteen.

2014 was the year that Mama and then, the baby, came into my life. A relationship that I chose to build, from the ground up. One phone call, turned into this relationship where Am now married, have a life, and a child in my life who calls me Daddy.

Besides Grand Pa, I am the only other man in her life. And on Thursday, I will get to see the little girl I have spent the better part of three years raising with Mama.

The closing paragraph of tonight’s story says:

I once knew a woman who was crying before a meeting. She was approached by a five-year old girl who told her, “You don’t have to cry here. This is a good place. They took my daddy and they made him better.”

That’s exactly what A.A. did for me; it took me and made me better.

And for that we are eternally grateful.


Friday: As WE Understand Him …

9781606410691

You never know, when the subject of Faith and God will arise.

Earlier today, I got a call from my Friday driver, to say he was going to make a 12 step call on the way to the meeting, and if I could take the Metro to the meeting, No Problem.

I met with a sponsee for an hour and made my way uptown for 7 p.m. I got there 10 minutes early. I cranked it out and waited for folks to show up.

Little did I know, that the 12 step call would be for someone I know, from the Monday meeting. This particular man, talks about God, in words and actions that nobody else I know use, in the rooms, across the board.

The other night, he was talking to an old friend, as they shared old war stories between themselves, and he ended up with a crack pipe in his hands, on a two night binge.

Where his faith went, even he does not know…

I sat and listened in, to a conversation, and then I asked him about his faith life, If he had lost his faith, or was he still hanging on to it. From what I had been hearing from him, I just shot into the dark with an idea.

Last night, I listened to several talks from General Conference. Thomas S. Monson, Carol McConkie, and Robert D. Hales. For some strange reason, I was moved to mention General Conference to my friend. I had no idea where he had been, in the way of faith or church, but I began to talk, nonetheless.

I told him what I had seen last night about Prayer, and Community, Service, and Discipleship. He Listened, then offered that he was indeed Investigating.

We had an entire conversation about faith from the L.D.S perspective. A few minutes later, we were sitting there talking, and my phone rang, and it was the Young Elder, who was new to Montreal, calling to say hello and to arrange a meeting with his new companion next week.

Is that ODD or is that GOD ???

I had a thought, I acted on that thought, that led to a familiar conversation, which then was cranked up a notch with a phone call out of the blue, from the last person, I thought would have called me at that very moment.

Tonight, Bill spoke to us, about Higher Power, as We Understand Him. In this reading he talks about the many ways you can find your way, into the program, with very little faith:

“They just don’t realize that faith is never an imperative for A.A. membership; that sobriety can be achieved with an easily acceptable minimum of it, and that our concept of a a Higher Power and God – as we understand Him – afford everyone a nearly unlimited choice of spiritual belief and action.”

This subject is treated in many different ways in A.B.S.I.

In a later writing in the book, Bill comments:

It does not matter what you choose to believe in, whatever will work for you.” At the end of the page he throws a wrench into the mix by then offering this nugget:

“That in the end, it always comes back round to God.”

Tonight, many of us who have been sitting in that room for years and years have seen people come in, sit down, say NO and Go. They come in, sit down, say NO and Go.

I’ve said it before that God, this three letter word, is the MAJOR stumbling block that prevents MANY people from getting sober. No matter how we couch, frame or talk about the “multitude of choices” one has to believe.

The numbers of people who have come, gone, drank and used again, never came back, or ended up DEAD are very high.

It Boggles the mind to ponder how many people we have seen come and go over the last three years.

BOGGLES !!!

They say that words are difficult in the beginning. But we all also agree, that the first simple action we take, leads to more simple actions, which lead to feeling better, which leads to sobriety.

If you cannot pray, to begin with, then say anything. You don’t need rote prayers or words you don’t identify with, and speak them to a God, you may not necessarily believe in, YET …

I have atheist friends who are sober today. And they do just fine.

We all agree that action makes the world go round.

  • Service
  • Making Coffee
  • Setting up chairs and tables
  • Greeting the Newcomer
  • Step Work
  • Reading the Big Book
  • Thanking the Chair
  • Participating in Fellowship

Simple steps of action, that done, over and over, DO LEAD SOMEWHERE.

It is not your word that matters, it is WHAT YOU DO that matters.

When you don’t have words, then do the next right thing. Over and Over again.

This is a program of action. We all agree on that. Once you begin to DO and to ACT, the rest falls in place as long as you stick around, and have an open heart.

When I leave my life open to Heavenly Father, He tends to amaze me in ways that I could not imagine.

I saw Him move in a room tonight.

In closing all I can say is this …

  • I am not the center of the universe
  • My world does not revolve around my navel
  • I have a God of my understanding, and that is great, as long as I remember that
  • I am NOT HE ….

 

 

 

 

 


Thursday: Coffee Maker …

coffee cup

Always pay attention to the coffee maker, at whatever meeting you go to…

Six months ago, when it came time to change up my meetings, I realized that there was a meeting, just down the hill from home. Essentially, a 10 minute walk through the tunnel to a little church of a building, not far from home.

The Padua Center, is a building that houses the remains (read: Altar, Statues, Lectern) of an old church that was demolished, but the core of that church had been kept, and now mass is held in that building on Sunday mornings.

Many years ago, there was another meeting that was began by an old friend, who has since died. I used to go to this little meeting, when it was up and running.

Fast Forward to November 2016. I looked up Love and Tolerance in the meeting list and headed down one Monday night. Every meeting, has its resident coffee maker. One of the most unsung jobs in the fellowship. Nobody cares WHO made the coffee, but it better be damn well perked by the time those ungrateful alcoholics walk through the door.

Hell hath no fury like an Alcoholic, with coffee not ready to go…

Danger Will Robinson, DANGER !!!!

I’ve known some crazy coffee makers in my time.

That night I met our coffee maker extraordinaire. Back then, the meeting was sparsely attended, and only needed a small, 12 cup perk coffee maker. Over the last six months our intrepid coffee maker invested in a full bore 60 cup, standard issue, coffee urn.

The number of meeting attendees, has more than doubled in six months. And all of us are grateful for the coffee maker. He is there every week, busy or not, making coffee.

This past Monday, I asked him if he could give me “thirty minutes?” He understood that I was asking him to come to a meeting to hear ME speak.

Funny that …

This afternoon around 1 p.m. he texted me saying that he could not make our date for the meeting. I was on my way to the bank to prepare for my trip to N.L. next Thursday.

I came home and made two phone calls. One came back as a NO, and the other message was not received prior to the meeting. I took that as a sign, to trust God and head to the meeting as usual. While setting up, I told one of our women that I needed a speaker, and she volunteered to speak for me.

Not ten minutes later, my coffee maker texted me saying his late meeting at the office had been cancelled and that he was on his way. Little did he know that HE was the one who was speaking and not ME.

That realization came about 5 minutes before I introduced him to the room.

Color him surprised…

It all went as God had ordered it. He knocked it out of the park.

After the meeting I told him that newcomer quote I heard a couple of weeks ago that:

If you get asked to Speak at St. Matthias, You Have Arrived …

Our little Monday, Love and Tolerance meeting is a wealth of Sober Experience, that I have been tapping since I joined St. Matthias a few months ago. Lots of sober men and women who don’t usually hit the Thursday meeting, so, fresh minds are fresh stories to hear.

Last week, into last weekend, New Foundland was hit by a severe blizzard, which prompted some serious considerations of not making the trip next week, due to weather concerns. I called Air Canada, and spoke to them about weather. Then I called the bank, and tried to get some insurance on my $650.00 airline ticket. (That was a bust)

Tuesday would be the day that I would decide to either get on a plane or cancel my trip, because getting an airplane into St. John’s is dicey, frequently. Wind, Weather, Snow, are a given on any day. Tonight, it seems that the weather will be looking up, thanks to Environment Canada’s six day forecast.

I have cash in hand, and a good weather forecast, at the moment. In New Foundland, weather is never a given. All it takes is a little weather headed into that area, and Mother Nature can dump up to sixty centimeters of snow on any given day.

It has been pissing rain in Montreal for two days now. A Rain/Snow mix may fall tomorrow night, and more rain. We have heard, mentioned, double digit positive temps for this weekend … Let Us Pray …

Keto-Genic Diet

Reddit Keto Info Page
Keto Nutrition Page

Friday, last week, a good friend of mine witnessed me, two nights in a row, drinking my favorite Orange Soda. He was not impressed with that. On Friday night he said to me that I needed to stop the sugar intake and that I needed to look into the Keto Diet.

Saturday night, I did some serious investigating and came away with a diet plan that I was willing to work with. The Keto Diet, is strict. Lots of No, No’s. And very little leeway in the eradication of sugars and carbohydrates.

The Keto diet has a scientific basis. On the second link, you will find all the scientific data with Diabetes and Cancer patients.

I haven’t had a sip of soda in five days. I haven’t had any sugar whatsoever, in five days either. I wrote down the dietary restrictions on the fridge, and now we both eat very well, based on the Keto Diet restrictions in place.

Let me tell you that Detoxing from Sugar is BRUTAL … The first three days, I thought I was going to loose my mind. I was hormonal, and seriously demented. I had headaches, and I was terribly, emotionally, cracked.

One of my women, whom I work with, read my F.B. Page and she has serious time invested into the Keto Diet. So she called me the other night and we tweaked my plan, with a few changes and substitutions.

I spoke about having realized in February that I had, in fact, lost ten pounds, which spurred me into a radical lifestyle change, personally. I want to feel good, and look good, and look good doing it too.

People are noticing.

Thursday, after the meeting, is my “teaching night.”

My Elder friend in Utah, and I talk weekly via Google Hangout. We get to see each other and talk about how his life has changed since he ended his mission in Montreal. It was important that we kept our friendship going, because i want him in my life and we are friends, and each week, I get a little Faith Boost from him. General Conference was last weekend, this year, he got to see it live and in person. I get to watch it here at home.

His takeaway was this:

Community is important. Faith is Important. Charity is important.

Distilling a theological message to three points …

The number of walls you can knock down when ministering to your community, friends, and family, the better. We don’t need any more walls, we need community, we need love, we need charity and we need to love one another fully.

This message, in three parts, is familiar to me. I’ve heard it repeated many times on many fronts over the past month or so.

The Blessings of Easter is quickly approaching. The whole reason the Atonement is central to the church and her people. The sacrifice of the Cross makes this life possible and grants us life, love and faith.

Tomorrow is the Best Night of the Week.

Surely more to come.

Tenzin Palmo, Buddhist monk once said:

“The more you realize, the more you realize that there is nothing to realize. The Idea that there’s somewhere we have got to get to, and something we have to attain, is our basic delusion.”

 


Monday: Lamentation … 417

love

AND Acceptance is the answer to ALL my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

NOTHING, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.

Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and my attitudes…

…Acceptance is the key to my relationship with God today. I never just sit and do nothing while waiting for Him to tell me what to do. Rather, I do whatever is in front of me to be done, and I leave the results up to Him; however it turns out, that’s God’s will for me.

This reading should be tacked at all points of view in everybody’s home, no matter who you are, alcoholic or not. It is a reading that I should have used recently, for some of my guys, and most importantly for myself.

I am told, and I tell this to my guys that, it isn’t the destination that matters, it is the journey in between that matters, and will mean something. I heard one of my guys talk about the counter-intuitive nature of the above passage.

In his work, he is sober. But his workmates are not. And the million dollar millennial has stars in his eyes, and is idealistic, and is of the mind, that if he puts in the time, work and talent, that at 35, he is going to be a millionaire, and be able to retire on that yacht in Monaco.

I am afraid, and we are afraid that the end point is nigh, and may not happen, and placing such expectation on God, is folly…

They say that: We make PLANS and GOD laughs …

Acceptance comes, daily. In the moment. Every moment.

I’ve seen people come in, having lost everything, some who have lost some, and even others, who lost nothing, but their self respect and dignity. I watch people come in and have stars in their eyes, and hear them say,

“Well, I’m going to get it all back, just you watch and see…”

And how many of those people recoup their losses on any kind of grand scale ?

Very Few …

You might get sober, and then come to realize that God has bigger and usually better plans for us, than we know ourselves. God’s time, is a long haul proposition.

Waiting for God, is like watching paint dry on a house.

Every time I read this story, or think about acceptance, I get choked up. Tears fall from my eyes, and I feel lamentation, in the worst way.

Mental Illness is serious business.

When I met hubby many years ago, he was ebullient, romantic, sexual, dynamic and young. The early months, of our relationship was filled with things, that have long since disappeared, never to be seen again.

It was good, that, at the time, people were quoting page 417 to me constantly.

Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.

Because when Mental Illness struck us, the man who went into treatment, was NOT the same man who came out the other end. The doctors failed to tell me this truth while it was happening right in front of me.

Talk about Acceptance …

Relationships are built on Love, Trust and Respect. If you commit, you commit. Even before we spoke vows in front of family and friends, shit had happened. Cruel shit, that nobody knows about, to this very day.

Not One Person …

Nobody knows how bad it got. Nobody knows the finer details of what mental illness does to a couple. But I was damned sure that what my family and friends saw, was the best possible vision of a man who survived treatment for Mental Illness. And on that very day, He was the Best Presentable Image of a Whole Man, Body and Soul.

That was the man I married. We were celebrating who HE was, in that moment.

It took me a long time to reconcile who He was, with who He became, through treatment. I kinda felt cheated that I was short changed in the end. But I was committed. Those wedding vows were tested for damned sure, before we even hit that altar.

Acceptance was the key.

It was a very good thing that I was getting sober, and I had at least 15 months in the program, before SHIT hit the FAN. Because it took all of my friends, some serious work, to keep me ON THE BEAM, for the next year of treatment.

I do not regret one day of it. I did the best I could do, given the circumstances. I did everything possible to make hubby comfortable and to care for him, to the best of my abilities. Every Single Day, and I still do, to this day.

I miss the ebullient man he used to be. And every time someone suggests this passage, I get emotional, because I know, to my very core, what this passage means to my life, in a visceral way.

We have two choices in our relationships.

  • You can either accept life as it unfolds, knowing you are powerless over many things, and you won’t have all the answers, or
  • You run, in the other direction, when life gets tough.
  • You either LOVE harder than you have ever loved before, or
  • You never love that way ever again …
  • That is what makes a marriage, every bit sweeter …
  • That you can live up to, and into those vows you speak

Marriage vows are written in a certain way. They are a warning about what may happen to you, when you least expect it, and better be informed as you stand before God, and you commit to your husband/wife/partner/significant other, that you are promising these certain unknowns.

That if they happen, you were once warned.

Running out when shit happens, is not suggested, but many people fail this test, when shit hits the fan. Which is why 417 needs to be plastered in every home on earth.

If you can accept that whatever is going to happen, probably will happen, and that God, in his infinite wisdom, ordains the universe, and that you might not get, that end point filled with expectations, you just might get, whatever God believes we are due …

That is total acceptance.