Monday, October 20, 2008

Sympathy for the One Armed Paper Hanger

To my half dozen loyal readers I apologize for being a bad blogger. Truth is I have been busy. Last week I officially registered my very first business. I'll be planning events to raise money for charities and non-profits that focus on at risk kid's, single mom's, people with special needs, seniors and the incarcerated. It's sort of a Matthewesque sheep and goat set up if you get my drift. Beyond that there's the program I'm in front of, just got elected to term number 10 as President And of course there's work and family.
Beyond that I will do my best to throw a post up here with some type of regularity. It's my sanity point and I have a lot to write, just not a lot of time to write it.
Regardless, I love you all and thank you for your continued support.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Heretic Looks at 40

Actually I'm 43, the title was a an attempt to be clever with a Jimmy Buffet song (A Pirate Looks at 40). I'm not sure if anyone caught the humour but I'm laughing hysterically at my keyboard.

The title came to me as I thought about this post. Anyone who has followed my blogs over the past 3 years will know about my past. If you're new to this page I'm a died in the wool Christian with a a heritage that dates back at least 400 years in the Faith. I'm also a survivor of a Charismatic Christian cult. The leaders didn't ask the membership to drink Kool-Aid together or start stockpiling an arsenal but I left at the same time Jimmy Swaggart was caught red handed, Jim and Tammy's Wonderland came crashing down and the so called (mega) church I was attending sent a form to all members asking us to list all expenses and income in detail. The plan was for us to turn our finances over to the church leadership. I was hit particularly hard as I was a dedicated militant holier than Thou Christian.

Int he wake of leaving my life turned to a pile of garbage. The economy went into a recession. I was living in Orlando, Florida, where the economy depended on tourism and a big military budget. Orlando and area is built upon amusement parks, missile and tank factories. I had a friend who painted MX missiles for a living. Painted missiles? Why on earth would you paint a missile? Anyway I digress.

As the econmy slid backwards, my marriage of 7 years went in the same direction. I started drinking, smoking and carrying on in the same way I did when I was a dedicated young christian growing up. Jobs became scarce, my then wife left me for ner Ex whom she never got over and I could not find a church that I didn't have an issue with. When I lost the house, cars, kids and last smeblance of self respect I hit bottom. It took several years to climb out of the hole.

After several years of trying several churches and finding none that suited me I turned to serious prayer. After nearly 30 years of being a Christian, you might as well say my entire life as I made the "decision when I was 7 years old, I admitted I had more questions than answers. By this point I had read the Bible cover to cover over 4 times chronologically in almost as many versions. I came to the realization I really didn't understand what the Bible was about. I understood that Jesus was LORD but I really didn't understand what that meant other than confessing HIm as LORD and Saviour. I couldn't explain the Trinity, every time I read Romans I had new revelations (from the same passages). I couldn't explain why the Old Testament was relevant if it was wiped out with Jesus' sacrifice. If anything I had more questions. Questions that I couldn't answer.

So I prayed. I asked the LORD to give me some direction. By this time I was relatively cleaned up from outward appearances, kicked cigarettes and drinking my face off and living a not so virtuous life. I was married to a wonderful wife and beginning to start a family over again. I still had a burning desire to be a servant of Jesus. I desired to have a priestly knowledge (immersed in the Faith not necessarily referencing my friends in the Catholic wing of Christianity). I figured if Solomon was blessed because he asked for wisdom then I might as well start there. I also wanted Knowledge and Understanding. I wanted to know what the Word was all about. To really know who Jesus was and not accept that there are still mysteries that we will come to grips with someday.

For the past six years my prayer has been and continues to be answered. The revelations have been very settling and comforting. Some of the answers have pushed me outside of my comfort zone and contradict some age old teachings that are laid deep with the foundations of my psyche. The single most defining principle is that Jesus remains at the center of everything I have learned. No philosophies, people or institutions are lifted up. Jesus is it. Every step of the way the focus i son Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life. Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus, the Word who has always been and will ever be.

The struggle I am faced with is that I feel a little like Elijah when Jezebel was hot on his heels. Alone. I know there are there are millions out there who are on the same track but those in my immediate circle, friends, family, fellow church members are not quite there. At least I don't think they are.

This first step to bridge this gap will be using this page to work some of the challenges out. I'm not an expert or anywhere near being a priest but am stil pursuing the goal. pray for me.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Love, Liturgy and Lettuce

The year was 1985, I was 20 years old, a full time student and full time employee at the local funeral home in a small town outside of Orlando Florida. One of my jobs was to drive the town's only priest, Fr. McGee to and from funerals he was asked to deliver. The old priest took a shine to me. I told him how I was planning on becoming a preacher, he tried to recruit me, I explained that there was no way I'd ever swear to a life of celibacy. Give up pizza for life, maybe, the act we do not speak of, never.

One hot August afternoon the priest tried again. I confirmed once again I would not make the vow. He asked me my age. I told him twenty. He went into a story.

The effects of the population explosion in Florida was being felt in our little town. Dozens of new members were joining the church every month. All new members were required to attend a series of classes. Once the classes were successfully completed the candidates would make a sacrifice for the church, much like Lent. The priest would determine the sacrifice each member in waiting would make.

Recently, there were three married couples in the group. A couple in their 50's, a couple in the 30's and a newlywed couple in their 20's. "I called the three couples into my office together", explained Fr. McGee in his authoritative tone as I drove the tree lined streets leading to his home.

"As you are all married, I thought I'd ask each of you to make the same sacrifice." he recounted. "I would like you all to go three weeks without relations".

I laughed then immediately felt embarrassed, the Padre was so serious. I apologized for the disrespect.

Fr. McGee went on seemingly not noticing my rude outburst. He explained that the three couples looked at their respective spouses searching each others eyes in silence for affirmation. Almost in unison the group of six looked back at the priest and said, "It's for the Church Father, we'll do it."

Three weeks passed. Fr. McGee explained that he called the couples in separately to discuss their sacrifice as it was now a confidential matter.

The couple in their 50's came in.

"Welcome back, how did you do with your sacrifice?" asked the kindly old priest.

Without looking at his wife, the husband snorted, "we haven't had relations in three months Father, three weeks was a breeze."

I was astonished but the priest didn't notice. He went on.

"No, no, no" he admonished the indignant husband, "you go out right now,take your wife to a nice dinner at Mario's. Get a table in a dark corner where the candle light illuminates your beautiful wife's face. Go home and fulfill your marriage vows." Fr. McGee recounted the speech as if he was delivering it right there in the funeral homes big black Fleetwood. "Welcome to the church."

"Next I called in the couple in their 30's. The wife looked very nervous, constantly smoothing her dress. The husband was biting his nails and looked very edgy" said the priest looking up to his right as he remembered the scene. "Well," Fr. McGee asked gently expecting the worst, "how did you do with your sacrifice?"

"We made it three weeks Father!" the husband said almost screaming. "When is this sacrifice over?"

Smiling gently, the priest warmly replied, "Welcome to the church, go home and bring forth lots of children for the flock."

Finally the newlyweds came in. The wife couldn't make eye contact with the priest. She fidgeted with her hair nervously. The husband had a sheepish grin on his face looking like the cat that ate the canary.

"Well, how did you make out with the sacrifice?" asked the priest warily.

"Father you are a man of the cloth, I'm not going to lie to you." the husband started out sounding like he wanted to negotiate a deal.

"The first week was tough but we made it." said the husband. "The second week....three cold showers a day." now looking down sullenly, the husbands countenance changed. "Father, the third week, my wife bent over to pick up a head of lettuce. Father I lost control, forgive me but we made love right there on the floor"

Fr. McGee fought with his emotion not wanting to delver the bad news. "My son, I appreciate the fact that you made two weeks but the sacrifice called for three. You are an honest and noble man but I'm afraid I cannot accept you as members".

The husband's head snapped up and he exclaimed, "That's OK Father, we're not allowed int he grocery store anymore either".


Friday, October 3, 2008

A Gregarious Loner

Let's face it, blogging can be a chore. First it's sitting down and attempting to bang out a piece that your hope is slightly amusing to the couple of dozen readers who drop in on a regular basis. Writing the post is only the beginning, then there's the proof reading. Mama Mia I don't have the patience for that but I have too especially since I'm so dyslexic my Mama started and organization to fight the condition called Mother's Against Dyslexia (D.A.M.) Now the post is written and formatted (Justify, it must be neat) and you publish it. Giving it a view and see there's no bloody spaces between the paragraphs! Frustrated, you go back to the draft and try to manipulate the format by triple and quadruple spacing. Finally giving up, you let the paragraphs fall where they may.

Now that the post is written you hopefully have some time left over to browse the Favorites on the sidebar. In my mind this is the best part of blogging, reading the fare you have come to enjoy so much. It's not enough though just to read the posts you must leave a little note to let them know you've been by (even though Site Meter and Extreme Tracking leave their own trails). Then you proof the comment and hit SAVE and what? Must go through verification with those funky Timothy Leary inspired codes. I tried typing in Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds the first few times hoping that would crack the code but no luck.

Folks with verification codes enabled, I want you to know that when you see a comment from me , it means I really care. It takes me at least three attempts every time to get the thing right those codes are a dyslexics worst nightmare. Speaking of that did you hare the joke about the dyslexic guy that walked into a bra?

Back to the point of this post, at this point you've spent an hour of your night or early morning surfing your best reads and commenting that you realize you're one of those. One of those people you used to think were a bit odd spending all their time on the web conversing with total strangers hundreds to thousands of miles away. And then you realize those peo;e are kinda cool.

Personally, I've always been a bit of a loner. I don't need to be around friends all the time if at all. I'm not anti-social. As a matter of fact I'm the exact opposite. The worst job I ever had was a two year stint as a consultant working out of the house. I was very successful because I always had appointment's set up and built relationships with clients just to be with people. Recently I did a contract at a fairly senior level but was glad to get back into middle management when it was done. The Mucky Muck role saw me holed up in an office most of the day strategizing over a spreadsheet or MS Project. It was rather lonely. I want to be with people...when I'm at work. Off time I don't caire if I don't see another human, outside my family, for the entire weekend. Blogging on the other hand, allows me to maintain friendships with some very special people in a very unique way.

That's what makes blogging great. I've met some very interesting people. I get a great laugh reading some off the wall blogs. I wept when I read the post about the passing of Cliff's brother. I've learned new things that I wouldn't normally be interested. in. I've virtually visited Wales reading Sian's posts. I'm encouraged by many and amazed by others.

When I really think about it blogging isn't such a chore after all, it's a gregarious loner's blessing. A wonderful avenue to share a coffee with a friend you wouldn't have otherwise had the opportunity to meet.
Now that I have another post in the can, I'm going to see what you have to say.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sarcastic Sonofabeach

If you look at my DNA under a super duper microscope you will see a sarcasm gene. It will be hard to detect at first because it's disguised as a sense of humor. There is a large string of legitimate sense of humor genes like not taking myself too seriously, goofy, nut bar, cornball and tease but the sarcastic gene is in there too. I'd say the majority of my day is spent smiling or laughing. One of my favourite schticks is to make ridiculous statements with a very serious face and then watch people look at me like they want to be polite but wow is this guy off in left field. I get the biggest kick out of it. The best joke was when I finally realized my 16 year old was playing the sane joke on me. I was getting worried about the kid until one day I caught the smirk. Here I thought he was a stupid teenager when all along I was being a judgmental fuddy duddy. Good on ya Jr.
There's this side of me that has the knack for picking out the painfully obvious too. When a juicy opportunity presents itself I have to jump. It's a reflex. I didn't realize it until a couple of years back when someone pointed it out. Mind you he was laughing hysterically when he said, "You're so sarcastic!". I hadn't realized it until that point. Then someone else said it. A coincidental misinterpretation or fact? I started to watch myself and *gasp* it was true. I did tend to be a wee bit sarcastic.
A New Year's resolution in 2007 was to stop making fun of my partner at work at the time. I realized that I was picking on him. I tried to rationalize that the friendly jibes went both ways and that I got a kick out of the barbs flying my way. I went out of my way at times to set myself up for a gag. But what if my jabs weren't so funny to him? He would laugh when he was the target but was he just doing that or was he trying to fit in?
Lately I've noticed that the sarcastic lines still roll off my tongue. The past couple of days I've caught myself. Then I began to wonder how I'm coming off on on this page? Am I a tad bit condescending at times? I dunno. I don't want to be anymore.
From now on I am committing to make every editorial and comment that comes out of this sparsely covered head positive and edifying. It's my deepest intent anyway. I want to help and build others. Maybe it's the Bizzaro Pilgrim that fighting inside me that is my challenge.
My new month's resolution is to stop being a sarcastic jackass. I will now be an edifying jackass. There you have it. I've written it down, the first step to achieving a goal. Pray for me Gentle Readers.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kyle Schmyle

Before I went to bed, around 11:00 PM Atlantic Time, (12:30 Eastern) Kyle was at hurricane strength in the Atlantic just off New York. It was still tracking to hit New Brunswick around midnight. Locally we were warned to have flashlights, batteries and fresh water stored up and prepare for flooding, downed trees, damaged roofs etc.

As a last minute precaution I ran out to double check the tarp covering the makeshift tent/carport we store our wood in (for winter heating). A fine rain was falling but was it ever coming down. In the 90 seconds I was outside I was drenched. It wasn't a driving rain but it was wetter than your average rain.

As I write at 4:30 AM, my normal rise and shine time, I Googled Hurricane Kyle. The latest news result, 48 minutes ago, gives me a report from the Hurricane Center in Miami. Kyle has made landfall, and has been downgraded from a Tropical Storm. I guess this makes Kyle sad in a near Equator way. He is or is in a Tropical Depression. Poor Kyle. Maybe that accounts for all the rain, he's sad. Anyway TDK, as those most familiar with him will now refer to him has slowed his progress down to a crawl but apparently is still providing 60 mph winds with gusts up to 70 or 80. (120 kph). Sounds more fierce in metric doesn't it?

From this Bloggers seat there's no wind right now just the same misty rain. There's lots of it though. The low areas in the back yard are under water, a little more than normal in torrential downpour, like the ones we've grown accustomed to this year.

Anyway, Pilgrim and family are dry and secure with lights and a roof overhead. Nothings blown away and all the trees are where we left them before the Sandman hearkened. I'm grateful that Kyle gave me enough material to fill two posts.

Until next time I remain,


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hatches are Batented?

The last I checked, Hurricane Kyle, a category 1 hurricane, was creeping up the Atlantic coast of the US. The eye was targeted to hit Saint John, New Brunswick, about 90 km (50 miles) south of here. The experts expect Kyle will lose steam though when it gets into the northern waters and downgrade to a tropical storm. Nonetheless, deck furniture, toys, gardening implements and whatever else isn't nailed down has been stowed.

Now we sit and wait for more rain. Mama Mia. Precipitation has drowned us the past few months. Over the winter over 13 feet of snow fell in our area. A little north of us they had almost 20 feet of snow. One person I talked to in April told me the snow leading to her pasture was over her head!
Then the rain fell.

We actually had two weeks of summer in July. It was hotter than, well, July. Enough time to bring the coming years hay in. Then the rain really came. We may have had a day or two of sun in August but I'd be hard pressed to swear to it. While much of New Brunswick flooded we were spared though glory be to God. .

Now Kyle or whatever is left of him is blowing in. Rain until the end of the week. And the good ole Farmer's Almanac is calling for a very cold winter with lots of snow starting in early December.

Oh well. Someone once said, "Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it." That being said I'm going to make sure my car windows are rolled up, there's lots of fresh water stored up in the event of a power outage and hunker down.

Bring 'er on Kyle, I'm ready for ya.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Where's Pilgrim?

The better question is, where's Pilgrim been? Not so far really, just been busier than a one armed paper hanger. That and submitting the keyboard to my DW for a couple of reasons. Maybe three.

One, I love her and would do anything for her, including giving up the seat I'm currently in.

Two, because it's a break for her from a harried day looking after the boys, keeping the house in order, baking fresh bread, gardening, making meals for everyone and generally being a Proverbs 31 woman.

And last but certainly not least. She gets paid to blog and I don't. Here you go Honey, the Dell's all warmed up for you....

Besides that, work (paid and unpaid) is keeping me hopping I just finished up the second round of a Hebrew perspective Bible course. tons of yard work, barn chores, the Summer Olympics, a reintroduction to camping and generally trying to be a decent dad. There wasn't a lot of time left over. Did I mention I'm trying to learn the guitar again. It's about my 152nd attempt but I'm thinking I may stick with it this time.

The good news is that over the past 6 months I've stowed away lots of material for some posts. I have to build the habit again though so don't get too excited yet. Wait until I have a few dozen consecutive posts under my belt before you blow up any balloons.

Here's to getting back into an old familiar routine with some cherished friends. I've really missed this part of my life and am looking forward to sitting down to coffee with you all again.


Friday, September 26, 2008


Wow!  My User ID and password still work.  Imagine that?   Maybe I'll dust off the keyboard of the old Sony and start blogging agian.