Thursday, July 31, 2008

Stealing another Post from Pastor Matti

Failing Fathers
People train for so many years to become doctors,
lawyers and engineers.
In most of the countries they are not allowed
to practice these professions without a legal certificate.
I haven’t heard of any country where you need a training
of many years to become a father. Anyone can do it.
To become a father is very simple,
but to be a father is a life-long challenge.
Many parents fail. They have never seen good
mothers and fathers. Their parents failed, too.
Sometimes people just get tired of trying to do that
what they never were trained to do.
Two pitfalls of un-professionalism are the waste of
time and money.
Measuring the losses in relationships is more difficult.
The damage done by un-professional parents can be
As a result of this corporate failure the world is filled
with lonely people who have chosen not to belong.
Psalm 68:6 says, that God sets the lonely in families.
The church is this family where people can be healed
from broken relationships. The church is a family
for families, too.
The best thing you can do as a failing parent is to
bring your family to the church.
Nobody needs professional parents anyways,
but everyone can be blessed by a spirit-filled family
member like you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Peace Has a Price

Yesterday I drove past this sign on a lawn that had a Bible verse on it. I didn't really like it as a lawn sign - mostly because it was a little legalistic but it got me thinking about peace. So many people try to manufacture or believe in a superficial peace. People think peace comes from your surroundings or it's a state you can create without any cost. I am not talking about the cost of a spa or a secluded mountain vacation. I am talking about a different cost.

Just think about external peace in the world. Most people think you can just "have" peace. Let's take NYC for example. NYC used to be a VERY dangerous city. Now people didn't just go out and get on their soap boxes and speak a very touching and heartfelt message about peace. No way. There was a major price. Many officers risked their lives and probably lost their lives to crack down on crime. They didn't do this by handing out roses and love letters. It was a war. Out of that came a more peaceful time. When Germany invaded France during WW II, I don't think running up to the Nazi's with a bear hug and chocolates and having a heart to heart about how much you loved them would have really solved the problem. There was a price to pay to bring that country back to peace. Many, many people paid a price in the form of their lives. When communist governments falsely persecuted their citizens and many Christians, I don't think having a chat about how much the persecuted ones wanted peace and going through family photo albums to persuade the torturers about what great people they were would have persuaded them. But yet some fought that evil government and many lost their lives. You see, peace has a price. We often forget this because we live in peace and someone has paid the price before us.

Then there is internal peace. This also has a price. It's not removing everybody and everything that grades against you the wrong way. I think Americans look at internal peace this way because most of us live in external peace. But this lifestyle actually demonstrates my point. You can have someone that seems to have and lead a peaceful life but internally they are tortured. And it's not all about "intention" or "willing your own life". How does a young woman who is born in the Sudan "will" her parents to be murdered by an enemy tribe. How does a young couple in America will for their child to be diagnosed with a terminal disease. No one wills for a loved one to be taken from this earth way too early. A Christian man didn't will to be tortured in a communist prison for decades. These things are part of different people's courses. It's called life. Someone paid a price so we could have peace in the midst of these trials and heartaches that all of us face. Jesus Christ paid the price of His life and shed his blood to pay for our sins so we could have a peace that passes understanding. That doesn't mean things don't hurt and there is no pain. It's just a deep peace in spite of the pain. That's how Richard Wurmbrand endured over 14 years of hard torture in prison under Romanian Communism. He wasn't happy about it. Peace does not equal happiness. He was able not to lose his mind when he had guards beat him and urinate on him. He was able not to lose his mind when he was put in a cell for years that he could only lie down in with a light bulb blaring in his face. Read Tortured for Christ. This peace comes from another source. It does not come from man. That's how a man can have all of the material possessions in the world and have a wonderful family and still go out and commit a horrible crime. Peace has a price. It doesn't come from flowery words, self help books or happy feelings. True peace comes from God.

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Cousin - Soon to be Bride

Happy Birthday Rye! Just one month until the big day!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What My Mother Taught Us

My mother would probably kill me if she saw that I had a picture of her up on my blog. It's not a good picture but it's one of the only ones I have on this computer. It was taken at her 50th birthday party at my house(October 2007). We (her family) gave her a trip to Louisiana. She got to go to the Bayou, the french quarter of New Orleans and St Francisville. Vinny sent her on that trip too. Thank you Vinny, we couldn't have done it without you.

Tonight my mother, Dan, their entourage, my grandmother, Molly, Wayne, Sam and I went out to dinner in Belfast and then some of us went to a musical in a park. During dinner we were reading letters and cards that different people had written to my mom and looking over Vinny's memorial invitation. I actually can't even look at it without bawling my head off. The picture just kills me. It cuts so deep I can't even put it into words. Needless to say we spent much of dinner crying. The play was a much needed relief from our sadness. One of the letters my mother received was about her character and how it was reflected in Vinny. It made me think.

My mother was 20 years old when she found herself alone with a 1 year old and 2 year old to raise. Not to mention she was broken hearted. I can't even imagine. She got married again and when she was pregnant with her third child with a 4 and 5 year old, she was a single mother again. To say my mother had guts, character and determination is an understatement. She wasn't the warm, fuzzy loving mother. She wasn't this way because she really had to work so hard and was beat down. She put all her energy towards supporting and feeding her children and there were times when she had to trust God for our food. I remember them. Saying it was a struggle is putting it mildly. Saying she had to walk alone as a person (God was always there) is not an exaggeration.

What did she teach us? She taught us to work hard. She didn't have to say any of these words to us - she lived it. She taught us when people kick you when you're down, you still have to get up and walk on. She did this or we wouldn't have survived. She taught us loyalty. She sacrificed for us. She could have walked away but she was loyal. She taught us to be kind hearted. She always demonstrated that there were other people less fortunate than us by taking people into our home year after year. She taught us to have guts. She had to have guts. She taught us that having great character had meaning. Most everyone who knows her would say she is an amazing woman. She taught us not to be babies. She didn't get babied by life and she didn't baby us.

My mother wasn't the type of woman to sit down and have a heart to heart. She probably didn't have the time or energy. She was very demanding and had high expectations. I can see how her life formed us. I can say I am very proud of the person my brother Vinny is. I have to give a lot of credit to my mom because she is the person who raised him.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Romans 8:31 - 39

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:

“ For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”[c]

37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

I am not condemning myself. I just find comfort in these verses. My pastor used these among many others in the message today.

Christ lives in me - Galations 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Romans 8:1 KJV

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Little Brother

Happy Birthday to my little brother Zac-criah Miguel Aiken otherwise known as Zacchary Michael Aiken. He's 27 today. May God bless him and guide him through this valley in his life.

It's very bittersweet that life goes on when someone so special isn't physically part of your life. Actually, it's not sweet at all; it's just pretty bitter - but God knows.

Speaking of God knowing. I started reading 90 Minutes in Heaven. The author speaks about his time in heaven when he physically died on earth for an hour and a half. He was received in heaven by so many people he knew on earth. He said he had never been filled with so much joy and life. He said, at the time, he didn't think about anything or anyone he had left back on earth. He was just so overcome with happiness to be where he was. He made it to the gates and saw into heaven - the streets paved with gold. His live on earth was miraculously given back to him before he made it through the gates or saw God. He spoke of the music - you'd have to read the book. All the music was praising Jesus. There wasn't any sad music about Him dying on the cross - just music glorifying Him as King of Kings. When I read this description it relieved me. I know when you get to heaven there is no sadness. I just miss Vinny so much, I can't imagine him not missing me and others. I don't want him to have any regrets. But like my pastor said to me on the phone today - the issues of life and death are not ours - they are God's. We don't choose for ourselves and we don't choose for others. God knows.

The other thing I was thinking since reading the book is who met Vinny when he entered heaven. 2 Cor 5:8 We are confident, [I say], and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Did Jesus greet Vinny first like when He stood to meet Stephen? Who else was there? Maybe - my grandmother's brother Uncle Bud. He loved the Lord with all of his heart and also had many struggles. He died fairly young. He loved us. My great-grandfather Nate? He became a Christian late in life. He used to take his glass eye out and let us look at it. Maybe Jimmy Carver. He was great friends with my grandparents and went to church with them. He owned a cow farm. Vinny and I were grossed out by his milk whenever he brought it to church suppers because we thought it had bag balm in it. Could it be Pastor Stevens? Vinny loved his preaching when we lived in Baltimore together. He had a controversial life and end of life, but I remember Vinny saying of all of the people who wanted to drag up any possible personal sin he might have had - wow, that's totally evil. I would never want a list of my sins posted in front of everybody. Could it be Josh Sliva? I am pretty sure he was in Bible College when Vinny was. He died very young. Could it be Ed the American- Bulgarian scientist that lived with us when we were kids after he had several strokes. Ed was brilliant. He spoke seven languages before his strokes and worked with Albert Einstein. He could only say yes and no but could sing church hymns. He also totally sicked us out at the dinner table. I wondering if they are laughing about that in heaven. It all just makes me wonder.

Okay - so I'm a Fan of the Golden Arches

So sue me. No really I was thinking of McDonalds today. I know the food is really, really bad for you. The beef is made from cows lips and the french fries are pure food starch. Yes, I know all that, but there is something very comforting to me about McDonalds. I don't eat there very often, don't get me wrong. There are just days when a big mac or a cheeseburger is comfort food to me. I loved the native food when I was in Ukraine and I didn't eat at McDonalds everyday, but occasionally it was very consoling to my American body to bite into really familiar food. By the way, apparently it's not as bad as some food. The Big Mac only has 550 calories and some appetizers at Friday's have 1500. I read that in an article because NYC is requiring restaurants to post the calories in dishes - let me tell you, McDonald's is looking like health food. By the way, I also like the McDonald's story. I think it's great someone had and idea and became very successful. And I absolutely don't think they're responsible for making America fat. That's right up there with the dumbest thing I ever heard. Okay, so hear me clear - I AM NOT AN ADVOCATE FOR EATING THERE. Once in huge while it isn't going to kill you. It's just on my list of things I find comforting like a cup of hot chocolate, driving over the Maine bridge when you live out of state, reading a great book, looking at the rocky Maine coast from a boat, wearing pajamas all day, a foggy day when your tired. I said all of that to say this. The other night I really wanted to eat a blizzard from Dairy Queen ( I don't eat those very often either). Dave and I drove over there - he's been very nice about doing what I want lately. I got my ice cream and ate a few bites. I said, "Dave, you know, I don't think I want this. What I really want is a McDonald's cheeseburger". When we were driving through the drive-thru, I told Dave I thought Vinny's spirit was taking over my body (joking). He said, "No, if Vinny's spirit were taking over your body you wouldn't be eating one cheeseburger, you'd be eating five extra value meals". Very true. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not turning to food to comfort me. God comforts me and people comfort me. It's just comforting to go places and do things that my brother did. I just know I could never eat like he did. So I thank God for McDonalds. We had a lot of fun and funny experiences there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Stealing a Post

I am stealing a post from Pastor Matti a Finnish missionary to Turkey. He doesn't know me but I love his blog -

God has not promised to take away the thorn, whatever it might be,
but He has promised to give more grace. II Corinthians 12:7-10
Do we know better?
It seems like we all are inclined to believe that eliminating all this
pain ad suffering in our lives would be far more beneficial for us.
We are wrong. Temptations, trials and sufferings actually
are stepping stones rather than stumbling blocks on our way to heaven.
We are learning to rejoice in sufferings, because we have found
something that is so much bigger than us.
We have found grace and it is better (bigger) than life. Psalm 63:3
Worshipping idols is frustrating because a man-made god is his own size.
An idol can never be bigger than the mind of it’s creator.
The living God gives grace, a continuing relationship with Him.
This grace includes a greater capacity, longer lasting patience
and a deeper understanding and peer into His character.
God leads his people to a place where they learn to receive.
We cannot grow without receiving.
We cannot give without receiving.
What do we have that we haven’t first received? Nothing.
I Corinthians 4:7
God is a rich giver.
It’s impossible to walk with Him without receiving from Him

More Whale Watching Photos

Imagine taking photos without being able to see your view screen on your digital camera because it's so bright out. Yeah, that was me and I deleted a lot of pictures of nothing. It's a miracle I got any.

Healing a Broken Heart Takes Time

I had such a great day. I had a great conversation with my grandmother this morning. It's so nice to talk to her because I know she loves me so much and can identify with the pain I am going through. We talked for a short time but we can get so deep so fast. Then my realtor and friend took me out to breakfast. We talked about Vinny of course.

Jenny and I got to Boothbay Harbor around 12:30 and bought our whale watching tickets. We got in line around 12:55 and waited and waited. When we FINALLY boarded, we realized we were in the wrong line and had to RUN to pier one. We made it, thank God, because that was really, really numb on our part. We instantly had so much fun. The boat ride out of the harbor was incredible. All the kept going through my head, other than Vinny, was "oh Lord, oh Lord, how majestic is your name in all of the earth". We kept praying and praying we would see a whale. About an hour into the ride two huge finback whales appeared. It was sooooooo cool. I just love whales. It was the only thing I could think of doing that would get my mind some what off things for a while. I don't know if we kept seeing the same two whales but we saw lots of finbacks. They would just keep reappearing on different sides of the boat. It was absolutely breath taking and beautiful. We also saw a minke whale, lots of seals and dolphins. Jenny and I had a total blast like two kids at a carnival. We also had intense conversations during the ride in the car, different times during our four hour whale adventure and at dinner after.

Another really cool thing happened. Some know about me asking God to send me a note from Vinny after he died. And the email I received that said "Vincent is waiting for you". I got it two days after I found out about Vinny. After that I could picture Vinny in heaven. It was directly from God to me. I can't even explain it. That night I got on the computer to find books on heaven. The only one that seemed remotely interesting to me was 90 Minutes in Heaven. I was going to order it but didn't at the time. When Jenny got in the car today she told me she had something she wanted me to read... 90 Minutes in Heaven. Oh my gosh - thank you God.

I just got home. It was nice to have a change of scenery because when I got home the reality of not seeing my brother until heaven hit me again. I know over time God will heal my broken heart.

The Knowledge of the Holy by A. W. Tozer

The night was met with little sleep, but the day is beautiful. And, God willing, I am going whale watching.

I started reading The Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer last night. It is riveting to say the least. I almost want to retype the entire book into my blog because there are so many parts already that have made a huge impact on me. It's like what I have already been meditating on is exactly what the author goes into. Here' an exerpt:

"Canst thou by searching find out God?" asks Zophar the Namathite; "canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?" "Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son," said our Lord, "and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." The Gospel according to John reveals the helplessness of the human mind before the great Mystery which is God, and Paul in 1 Corinthians teaches that God can be known only as the Holy Spirit performs in the seeking heart an act of self-disclosure.

The yearning to know What cannot be known, to comprehend the Incomprehensible, to touch and test the unapproachable, arises from the image of God in the nature of man. Deep calleth unto deep, and though polluted and landlocked by the mighty disasters theologians call the Fall, the soul senses its orgin and longs to return to its source. How can this be realized?

The answer of the Bible is simply "through Jesus Christ our Lord." In Christ and by Christ, God effects complete self-disclosure, although He shows Himself not to reason but to faith and love. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and love an organ of experience. God came to us in the incarnation; in atonement He reconciled us to Himself, and by faith and love we enter and lay hold on Him.

"Verily God is of infinite greatness," says Christ's enraptured troubadour, Richard Rolle; "more than we can think;... unknowable by created things; and can never be comprehended by us as He is in Himself. But even here and now, whenever the heart begins to burn with a desire for God, she is made able to receive the uncreated light and inspired and fulfilled by the gifts of the Holy Ghost, she tastes the joys of heaven. She transcends all visible things and is raised to the sweetness of eternal life... Herein truly is perfect love; whenall the intent of the mind, all the secret working of the heart, is lifted up into the love of God."

That God can be known by the soul in tender personal experience constitutes a paradox best described as
Darkness to the intellect
But sunshine to the heart
Frederick W. Faber

This is from The Knowledge of the Holy A.W. Tozer pages 9-10

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today Has Been an Interesting Day

I am sitting here shoveling Thai food in my face because I haven't eaten all day. It was sooo busy at the Cleaners today - barely enough time to use the bathroom once.
That is mostly a good thing but in a small way not so fun. I have always tried to have compassion on people because you have no idea what they have gone through recently. I thought the most recent situation would give me more compassion and patience for people. I guess that will come with time because I have none. I say out loud, " do you need help?" but in my head, "please, please leave me alone and don't have any problems because I can't take it." It was one of those days.

Other things that happened today -

One of Vinny's best friends from Maryland and his wife stopped by the cleaners. I have known them as long as Vinny, but he was much closer to them. Clark, the husband, was up here for Vinny's funeral. They came up to Southern Maine for vacation this weekend and took a day trip to Camden today. It was very nice to see them and meet their kids. It's bittersweet because things like this bring people closer but then I want to cry because I miss Vinny.

Andrien, a worker we had from Moldova last year, called me today. It was so nice to hear his voice. I loved him so much and really wanted him to come back this year. I think he really regrets his choice now. He's in Iowa working at a factory and he hates it. He misses us so much and says Camden is much better. I told him I missed him and he could always come back and finish out the summer. Wishful thinking - doubt it's going to happen. It was so great to connect with him though.

I talked to my realtor this morning - who happens to be the best realtor by the way. Her name is Heather Shields. We started talking about business and she was like are you sure you want to deal with this now? I told her I had so many things in my head that dealing with this would give me so relieve. We were talking about lowering the price of my house. I told her I know if God wants it to sell it could sell in a second, but I would do my part. She just called me and said someone wants to show it tomorrow evening. Wow! Great. Only problem is - my vacuum cleaner just blew up last night. Well - I'm borrowing hers - that's how great she is.

I really should go to group power class, my weight lifting class, but the last time I went when I got home is when I heard about Vinny. I have no desire to go. Hopefully sooner than later I will force myself.

My dog is begging me to take her on walk, so it's off I go. It's always nice to have the cutest dog in the world around when you are not feeling so great.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Wonderful Merciful Savior

Wonderful mericiful Savior
Precious redeemer and friend
Who would have thought that a lamb could
Rescue the souls of men, Oh You rescue the souls of men

Counselor, comforter, keeper
Spirit we long to embrace
You offer hope when our hearts have
Hopelessly lost the way, Oh we hopelessly lost the way

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for, Oh our hearts always hunger for

Almighty infinite father
Faithfully loving Your own
Herein our weakness You find us
Falling before Your throne, Oh we're falling before Your throne

You are the One that we praise
You are the One we adore
You give the healing and grace our
Hearts always hunger for, Oh our hearts always hunger for

This ones for you Vin!!

I was riding out to Washington, Maine today to pick up some laundry. My thoughts were on Vinny and God as they are most of the time lately. I started thinking about so many things and then a fire was lit in my chest. I hope I can communicate it.

I was thinking about mine and Vinny's belief in God which I will say more about later. My idea of God is a man in heaven sitting on a couch that smells like wet dog with fast food wrappers balled up on the floor. He has his stinking feet up on a coffee table with his dirty socks thrown on the furniture. No, this absolutely isn't who God is to me. I say this because so many people say "whoever God is to you is okay". I believe God's nature is inherent to every human being whether they listen to the inner parts of their soul or not. People can create any god or any energy in their mind and many people do. Many people follow false religions because they are searching for God or because of their cultures. In western culture it's just cool to create your own image of God. Some people make themselves god and say that you can create your own destiny. But when your mother, father, brother, sister, child or best friend dies suddenly, your false ideas or false gods are no comfort. There is something inside of all of us that tells us that God is just and righteous. There is something inside of us that tells us that God is merciful, gracious and forgiving. And God tells us this in the Bible. Many people believe they are too modern or above reading and believing God's love letter to His people. Well, I give you this challenge for my brother Vinny. He would give you this challenge too. Read the entire Bible. Read it slowly. Challenge God to prove Himself to you. Tell God you are going to disprove the Bible. Read it for one year. What do you have to lose? Nothing - especially if it's true. Read Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell. After you have done that, come to me and tell me the God of the Bible is not the real and true God. Tell me there are other gods and other ways to reach God. Do it. I dare you.

That brings me to my brother. I know he would say the same thing but probably say it better. I was thinking today about our belief in God. Some people would think we were raised in a devout Christian home that was very patriotic. They may think that we had prayers together and long Bible studies. Well, that picture is very wrong. Our mother did tell us about God when we were very young. She told us about Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins and to accept His free gift of Salvation. We did and we believed. After that God wasn't discussed much in our house. We went to church off and on and sometimes went years without going to church. We did go to Sunday school sometimes but it wasn't like it was this amazing curriculum that changed our lives. Most of the church we experienced was not filled with life or the presence of God.

My father left and remarried when we were very young (babies) and my mother worked very hard to support us. She remarried and had an on again off again relationship with our stepfather. We had it a lot worse than some and better than others. I think that both of us felt that we didn't really "fit" anywhere. But there was something that happened to both of us that both of us understand and probably neither could put into words. There was something inside of us that always knew we were God's. Often times during my life I picture Jesus kneeling by my bed when I was a child with His hand on me telling me I am His. I knew. God Himself told me and God Himself told Vinny. Denying I was God's was like denying Vinny was my brother. No one had to tell us this and no one or no circumstance could take this away. Whether we were special to anyone else, we knew we were special to God. We both had times of straying away from our convictions, but even during those times if someone challenged us on Jesus Christ they would get an earful. It was the three of us and we always knew it. That's why I understand why God took Vinny home. He was our Father and He is our Father. He wanted to be with Vinny face to face. That makes me happy.

He Gets It

This morning I woke up thinking about my brother. I have another brother - actually 3 more but I only grew up with 2. I am thinking of the one in heaven.

Some of these situations are good, some bad and some are both. He gets the situation with my grandparents, he gets the situation with my mother, he gets the situation with my father, he gets the situation with step parents, he gets the situation with my Aunt Molly, he gets the situation with my Aunt Stacey, he gets the birthday situation, he gets the childhood Saturday morning situation, he gets the "Sunday Feeling" situation, he gets the milk situation, he gets the pizza situation, he gets the blueberry situation, he gets the Hope Church situation, he gets the Pastor S. situation, he gets the Belinda situation, he gets the weird sibling situation in Baltimore, he gets the Thanksgiving situation, he gets the demonic situation, he gets the dark situation, he gets the Bible situation, he gets the Fred & Nellie situation, he gets the dinner time situation, he gets the trash situation, the house in the field situation, the innertube situation.

These are just some of the situations that only he would get but now only He would get. I treasure my brother so much because of what we went through together - the good and the bad. It's truly a blessing to have one person on earth who can really identify with you and have a bond that runs deeper than any situation - even if that situation means he's in heaven.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I have a Father

He Knows My Name by Tommy Walker

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands

I have a Father
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call
I have a Father
He calls me His own
He'll never leave me
No matter where I go

I have a Father
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
and He hears me when I call

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rough Day

Yesterday was a really great day but today has been rough. Grief is so strange - mostly because I have never lost someone so close. You think you have a handle on it because you are at peace with where the person is - but then wham- it hits you like a mack truck again. I guess my mind is just coming to grips that I will miss my brother's words, his laughs and his hugs. Most of all I miss his love. I know he is with Jesus and I am sure he still loves me... it's just so hard to feel right now. It's just beyond my comprehension. I have been on the verge of crying all day and when I finally got by myself, I couldn't hold back.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Vincent Paul Galkowski December 27, 1975 - July 7, 2008

A tribute to the best older brother in the world will be coming soon.

The School of Suffering

John Newton
I suppose you are still in the 'school of the cross', learning the happy are of extracting 'real good' out of 'seeming evil', and to grow tall by stooping. The flesh is a sad untoward dunce in this school; but grace makes the spirit willing to learn by suffering; yes, it cares not what it endures, so that sin may be mortified, and a conformity to the image of Jesus be increased. Surely, when we see the most and the best of the Lord's children so often in heaviness, and when we consider how much He loves them, and what He has done and prepared for them, we may take it for granted that there is a need-be for their sufferings. For it would be easy to His power, and not a thousandth part of what His love intends to do for them should He make their whole life here, from the hour of their conversion to their death, a continued course of satisfaction and comfort, without anything to distress them from within or without. But were it so, would we not miss many advantages?

In the first place, we would not then be very conformable to Jesus, nor be able to say, "As He was, so are we in this world." Methinks a believer would be ashamed to be so utterly unlike his Lord. What! The master always a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief, and the servant always happy and full of comfort! Jesus despised, reproached, neglected, opposed, and betrayed; and His people admired and caressed! He living in the poverty, and they filled with abundance; He sweating blood for anguish, and they strangers to distress!

How unsuitable would these things be! How much better to be called to the honor of experiencing a measure of His sufferings! A cup was put into His hand on our account, and His love engaged Him to drink it for us. The wrath which it contained He drank wholly Himself; but He left us a little affliction to taste, that we might remember how He loved us, and how much more He endured for us than He will ever call us to endure for Him.

Again, how could we, without sufferings, manifest the nature and truth of the Christian graces! What place should we then have for patience, submission, meekness, forbearance, and a readiness to forgive, if we had nothing to try us, either from the hand of the Lord, or from the hand of men! A Christian without trials would be like a mill without wind or water; the contrivance and design of the wheel-work within would be unnoticed and unknown, without something to put it in motion from without. Nor would our graces grow, unless they were called out to exercise; the difficulties we meet with not only prove, but strengthen, the graces of the spirit. If a person were always to sit still, without making use of legs or arms, he would probably wholly lose the power of moving his limbs at last. But by walking and working he becomes strong and active. So, in a long course of ease, the powers of the new man would certainly languish; the soul would grow soft, indolent, cowardly, and faint; and therefore the Lord appoints His children such dispensations as make them strive and struggle, and pant; they must press through a crowd, swim against a stream, endure hardships, run, wrestle, and fight; and thus their strength grows in the using.

By these things, likewise, they are made more willing to leave the present world, to which we are prone to cleave too closely in our hearts when our path is very smooth. Had Israel enjoyed their former peace and prosperity in Egypt, when Moses came to invite them to Canaan, I think they would hardly have listened to him. But the Lord allowed them to be brought into great trouble and bondage, and then the news of deliverance was more welcome, yet still they were but half willing, and they carried a love to the flesh-pots of Egypt with them into the wilderness.

We are like them. Though we say this world is vain and sinful, we are too fond of it; and though we hope for true happiness only in Heaven, we are often well content to stay longer here on earth. But the Lord sends afflictions one after another to quicken our desires, and to convince us that this world cannot be our rest. Sometimes if you drive a bird from one branch of a tree he will hop to another a little higher, and from thence to a third; but if you continue to disturb him, he will at last take wing, and fly quite away. Thus we, when forced from one creature-comfort, perch upon another, and so on. But the Lord mercifully follows us with trials, and will not let us rest upon any; by degrees our desires take a nobler flight, and can be satisfied with nothing short of Himself; and we say, "To depart and be with Jesus is best of all!"

I trust you find the name and grace of Jesus more and more precious to you; His promises more sweet, and your hope in them more abiding; your sense of your own weakness and unworthiness daily increasing; your persuasion of his all-sufficiency, to guide, support, and comfort you, more confirmed. You owe your growth in these respects in a great measure to His blessing upon those afflictions which He has prepared for you, and sanctified to you. May you praise Him for all that is past, and trust Him for all that is to come!

John Newton (1725-1807) was an English hymn writer and Church of England minister. His early life was one of wanton sin. For ten years, he was deeply involved in African slave trade. His hymns include Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds, and Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

I am waiting for Dave to finish taking a shower so we can go to a family picnic at my Aunt Molly's house. We will be arriving late so I don't know if everyone will still be there. It will be relaxing to sit by the Lake anyway.

I woke up not feeling so well at almost 5 this morning. I told myself if I didn't fall back asleep I was going to get up and go to work. That's what I did. I got to work around 5:45 and work until almost 10. Then Dave worked and I waited for him - took a nap. We weren't open but had to do a lot of commercial laundry.

I am really praying to God that we sell our house this week. God, please sell our house. It will be one less thing on our list of things to do this summer. God knows. Thank you that you know God.

It's my cousin Rye's bridal shower tomorrow. I had to tell her due to some recent drama and family situations. I pray that she is blessed.