Monthly Archives: February 2014

I’m Delighted to Accept This Sunshine Award

Sunshine Award
Sunshine Award

I am delighted to accept this Sunshine Award from Julie S., whose blog is “Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept“.  You really must visit her blog!  She is an inspiration.

As was mentioned in Julie’s ‘Sunshine Award’ post, which I believe originated from Lita Doolan (Any old world uncovered by new writing), The Sunshine Award “is an award for bloggers whose blogs are bright and full of life.”  I would like to say that as I was choosing the blogs I would like to recognize, I not only thought of bright and lively posts, but I also thought of bright and life giving blog purposes.

I’m new to blogging and at first the idea of participating in blogging awards seemed a bit, I don’t know, like a gimmick and time consuming.  However, when I got over my initial reaction, I realized that for me personally, participation has been a blessing and worth the time and effort.  I have found the process very rewarding.  For more of my thoughts, visit my Blog Awards page.

The rules for accepting the Sunshine Award are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog
  • List 11 facts about YOU!
  • Nominate 10 other blogs to receive the award
  • Announce the nominations to the nominee

Below you will find the facts about me and the nominations that I have made.  They are not in any particular order.  Please visit their blogs when you get a chance.

Facts About Me
1.  I was bit by a poisonous snake.
2.  I was frightened once when I said something at a Women’s Conference in Peru that sparked lively discussion and the men with spears were between me and the door.
3.  I know how to shoot and skin livestock.
4.  I played ‘duck duck goose’ while wearing snow shoes.
5.  Fish nibbled my toes in the Jordan River.
6.  I man-handled the sandwich of a member of Parliament by mistake.
7.  I almost got kicked out of Canada for joking in front of the customs agent.
8.  I, with many others, witnessed a man die and come back to life.
9.  I think that participating in the Sweat Lodge can be life changing.
10.  I’m A Pepper.  … Wouldn’t You Like To Be A Pepper Too?
11.  I hope I never grow out of having “Anne of Green Gable” moments.

I nominate the following bloggers / blogs for a Sunshine Award.  They are in no particular order.

(1) http://learningtheanishinaabeway.wordpress.com/
I am inspired by his passion and purpose!

(2) http://medicinalmeadows.com/
I like her emphasis of healing and health!

(3) http://josephelonlillie.com/
I admire his courage to start over!

(4) http://chasingthestarrs.wordpress.com/
I enjoy her expressions of faith and joy!

(5) http://okaywhatif.com/
This group of authors keep me laughing!

(6) http://underthemonkeytree.com/
I like both her content and the idea of highlighting inspiring organizations!

(7) http://writemybrainsout.wordpress.com/
I find her posts entertaining!

(8) http://joeowensblog.wordpress.com/
I like his enthusiasm and stories of missions trips.

(9) http://careymclaughlin.wordpress.com/
I love her blog title and purpose.  Her posts are light and fun.

(10) http://sandalwoodlife.wordpress.com/
The thought of ‘giving back’, wonderful!  And who can go wrong with food!

I have enjoyed visiting your blogs!  Keep up the good work!

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The Eagle Feather Case – By Pastor Robert Soto (Lipan Apache)

I am re-posting Pastor Robert Soto’s post of February 11, 2014 regarding the ongoing Eagle Feather Case.  Pastor Robert Soto wears a lot of hats and titles, including pastor, teacher, dancer, and friend.  He is Lipan Apache.  He is a warrior and a leader.  We have been supporting Robert through this ordeal since the beginning through our First Nations Monday prayer network, social media, and my Across Turtle Island radio programs.  Please forward and feel free to contact Robert through the email provided at the end of the article.

Dear Friends:

First and foremost, I want to thank you for your prayers concerning our fight in the Eagle Feather Case. It is your prayers that have helped us in this fight to change laws that discriminate against all our Indian people, whether they belong to a tribe recognized by the Federal Government or a tribe recognized by the state or just for those who belong to neither. This is a battle that is now approaching its eighth year. It all started back on March 11, 2006 when several agents of the Department of Interior came during the morning session of our annual Spring pow wow and took pictures and video of all the dancers at our pow wow. Then an agent came back in the afternoon to target as many dancers as he could and take away their eagle feathers. In the end, forty-two of our feathers, thirty-six of which were given to me in 1971, were taken away.

On January 8, 2014, our lawyers were summoned to appear before the 15th District Federal Courts of Appeals in New Orleans Louisiana by three federal judges who wanted further explanations in our case. The miracle of all this is that only 100 of about 100,000 cases are heard by the District Courts of Appeals. Both our lawyers and the lawyer of the Department of Interior were called in to further explain the positions that they and we are taking. I do not have time to explain everything that happened at the summon but three things were established that might help us in the future. First of all, the federal Lawyers admitted that state-recognized Indians are just as much Indian as federally recognized Indians. Secondly, it was established that because of Federal laws and policies established by the federal government, they have produced two classes of Natives: one who qualifies for all benefits given by the federal government because their tribes are recognized by the federal government, and those who are just as much Indian as the others but who do not qualify for those same privileges because their tribes are not recognized by the federal government. The third thing that came out at the hearing was that a government which has established “Separation of Church and State” is now dictating who can worship as a Native and who cannot, and who can used sacred objects like Eagle Feathers as part of their religious practices and who cannot. Furthermore, our lawyers brought up that the Department of interior granted permits to let wind farms kill eagles for up to 30 years. They can kill eagles and get away with it but if a Native person finds a feather on the ground and picks it up, that person is in danger of being penalized and thrown into prison.

A lot of other issues came out in the hearing in which two of the three judges seemed to favor our cause over the government’s. I am writing now to inform you that the case will now be reviewed by the three judges who will make a decision any time between four to six weeks after the January 8th hearing, and to ask for your prayers. Our lawyers left the courtroom very confident that things went our way, but as we have learned before, that does not mean much when it comes to the federal government. So I ask you to keep this in your prayers as they make another decision.

I have been asked, what will happen after the hearing? It is my understanding that if we win and the government loses, they will appeal the case. Then if we lose and the government wins, we will appeal the case one more time. lf we have to appeal the case, it will go back to the 5th District Court of Appeals where our argument will be heard one more time. If we lose the second round and we decide to appeal it again, it goes to the Supreme Court, that is pending if they decide to hear the case.

I also want to stress that this lawsuit is not to get our feathers back. It is to change laws that govern the rights of all Native People. Laws that discriminate and dictate who can and who cannot practice what we call our Rights given to us by God the Creator to be who we are, American Indians. As I have said before, this is not about the feathers. We just want to be who we were created to be, American Indians. So I ask you to keep us in prayer, because whether we win or lose, the fight will continue until we cannot fight any more. But even if we lose in the highest court of the land, it will not change who I am and what in my heart I feel were rights given to me, not by the United States Government, but by God the Creator when I was born into a group of people known as the Lipan Apaches.

I would like to thank our attorneys, Milo Colton and Marisa Salazar, for their sincere, devoted and tireless commitment to see this through. They are an awesome team. God the Creator could not have sent us a better team. I would also like to thank the people of McAllen Grace Brethren Church whose prayers and support has gotten us this far.
God bless you and again, thank you for your many years of support, as well as for your prayers.

Robert Soto, Pastor
ROBTSOTO@aol.com

 

NEW UPDATE:  For the August 2014 update about winning this case, click HERE.

Born into Silence

I read the title for this week’s Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence, and before I could read the context or instructions, the phone rang.

“Jeny, what are you doing?”
“I’m at the computer.”
“You’re blogging, aren’t you?”
“No.”  (I wasn’t actually typing anything.  In fact, I had only read the top line of the before mentioned page. So, no, I wasn’t actually blogging.)
“Do you want to see a baby being born?”
“YES!”
“We’ll probably have to pull it.  I’m going to go find a rope.  Come on over.”
“Okay.  I have to get some warmer clothes.  I’ll be right there!”
(I look out the window.  The clouds are rolling in, the wind is picking up, the sky is spitting snow.   Hummmm.  This could get cold if there is any trouble.  Better dress warm.)

This week’s writing challenge was completely forgotten in the phone call.   I arrived just in time to meet my friend in the driveway.  I followed him out to the pasture.  My mind is going a million miles an hour, full of excitement.   We are looking for the heifer in labor.   Quietly, we round the first corner of the corrals.  Silence …..

We walk slowly, quietly, around the far corner of the corrals, and we look ahead …. there she is … and she has already had the calf.  Awesome!  Full of anticipation, wonder, excitement and relief, we get closer and we see she is licking the new baby.  It is a beautiful sight.  Silence …..

Wait, something is not right.  Silence …..

The baby is not moving it’s hind legs.  We move in closer.   Things don’t look right.  We are talking back and forth, sharing observations, talking to the momma, talking to the baby, more talking back and forth.   I want to take a picture of this beautiful moment, momma and baby touching noses, connecting, bonding.   I would if it was normal.  All I see now is a momma and baby totally focused on each other, yet neither one acting appropriate for a healthy birth.  Could this be the end instead of the beginning?  To take a photo now seems wrong, invasive.   Silence ….

We decide to go inside and call the vet.    The vet gave instructions, and back out we go. Momma is laying down, next to baby.   We’re going to have to catch up momma and tie her to the fence post so we can milk her and try and get baby to eat.   Why is she lying down? The baby’s hind legs still aren’t moving.   Ugh.  The wind is blowing, the sun is starting to slowly go down.    We take in all that has to come together.  Silence ….

We get momma caught up.  More help arrives.   Two of us are working with momma and two of us are working with baby.  The milking and feeding goes well.   Now to get them under cover.   This is no easy task.   Moving livestock around, getting hay, getting water, getting everyone situated.   The sun is almost down and I’m getting cold.   Silence ….

We get momma and baby situated.  The vet is on the way.  We know everyone is okay for now.   The cow-hands head home.  However, for the heifer, the little bull calf and their owners, it will all start again in a few more hours when baby needs to eat again.  Silence …

It’s dark.  I arrive home, very cold.  I feed all my horses.  Then I come in and shower.  The hot water feels so good!   I sit on the couch and I remember this week’s writing challenge.   Now, the theme is very appropriate.  When I ran off to see a baby being born, I didn’t think it would go this way.  Silence ….

(After I wrote this, I learned that the calf was diagnosed with brain damage, which explains why it couldn’t eat independently or walk.  It was put out of its misery. )

Below are 25 random other contributions to this week’s Writing Challenge:  The Sound of Silence.  For the whole list, visit the challenge page.

  1. Eight Things I Wish I Knew Before I Taught at a Boarding School | Kosher Adobo
  2. The Sounds of Silence* | Icescreammama
  3. underwood | yi-ching lin photography
  4. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Under the Monkey Tree
  5. Moments | anonim0us
  6. As Loud as Silence | Chimerical Chicanery
  7. Unspeakable | Musings of a Soul Eclectic
  8. Aborted Words | The Backwords
  9. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | carojesu
  10. yesterday’s snow lets | y
  11. Finding what you didn’t know you were looking for… | Crap I Blog About
  12. WWC: The Sound of Silence | Learning the Anishinaabe Way
  13. Who Said So? | Buzzy Beez
  14. Silence challenge | knovak616
  15. The Silence Welcomes Me | StormieSteele
  16. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Bringing Out the God-Colors in the World
  17. Suicide no. 27: Vow of Silence | derekalanwilkinson
  18. Silent White | Mary J Melange
  19. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Your Original LUPUSDIVA….
  20. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | No Apologies
  21. Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  22. Hush me again, I can’t stand it. | May van Reenen
  23. it’s haircut day | Musings of a Random Mind
  24. My Quest for the Sound of Silence | Schizo Incognito
  25. No Curse | scottishmomus

PBR Bulls Up Close and Personal

Last night at the Rocky Mountain Extreme Professional Bullriding PBR event at the Majestic Valley Arena was awesome!  Our friend, Don, was given passes into the VIP area of the arena, so the three of us were able to get up close and personal with the stock contractors, bullriders and some of the bulls.  Here are some videos!  Our friends Josh (wearing black) and Jeff (wearing blue) were working the gates during the event.  You’ll see them in the videos.  (You’ll have to follow the links. Sorry)

(1) PBR Bull Rider, Tony Mendes, 86.5.
Video on my Facebook Page.
My video on YouTube.

(2) PBR Bull Rider, Stetson Lawrence, 87.5.
Video on my Facebook Page.
My video on YouTube.

(3) Bull Sneaks Up On Me.
Video on my Facebook Page.
My video on YouTube.

(4) Bullrider Goes Flying.
Video on my Facebook Page.
My video on YouTube.

(5) PBR Bull:  You’re A Daisy If You Do.  He wasn’t playing nice.
Video on my Facebook Page.
My video on YouTube.

For more fun videos of this event (taken by professionals), watch these available from Everything-Cowboy.Com I hope you enjoy the videos.  Thanks for watching / reading!

PS:  Featured Image is local bullrider, Josh Kriger.  Photo by Emma Covill. 2013.

Beading Saves the Day on the Eve of Valentine’s Day

When I read this week’s Writing Challenge:  My funny Valentine?, my heart sank.   How can I possibly come up with an original, creative, unique story?   … Maybe I’m just lacking the “holiday spirit”, as they say.   … Either way, I had pretty much decided I would not participate this week.

It’s not that I don’t have plans.  I do.  In fact, I’m facilitating a Valentine’s Day Wedding.   After the wedding, my hubby and I plan to go to the movies.  Then Saturday we are going to the Rocky Mountain Extreme Professional Bullriding PBR event at the Majestic Valley Arena.   Actually, as I write all this down in black and white, I realize the “bah humbug” is gone.

Of course, that’s not how my day started.   Stress, stress, stress.  I came home with a headache and stressed.   I fed my mules their mush, I filled the water troughs, I cooked some dinner and made some phone calls, and I bought the tickets for Saturday.   Ugh, after all of that, I’m hours behind in starting my earrings.

I needed some earrings for the wedding tomorrow.  I decided I would bead them, trying my best to create the design my husband thought of.   I was thinking ‘beading’ all day.  While I was at work, in between patients and meetings, while I was doing chores and cooking, I was planning it out in my head.   In fact, I was so focused and feeling pressed for time, I ate dinner while gathering all of my supplies.   This was a trick, as it was spaghetti.

I picked out my beads, plugged in my light and magnifying glass, threaded my needle and sketched out my design.  I have never done anything like this before, so I am hoping that I get it right on the first try.  I don’t have time to redo this project.  I say a silent prayer.

As I’m threading the first few beads, I’m watching … hoping.  Success!  My pattern works.  … Oh wait, it’s upside down.  … I can fix that. …. Whew.  …. I finish the first earring.   Now, the second one.  … Okay, how do I do this so it’s not upside down.   I’ll try this … Awesome!  It worked.  … Yay!!  I might still have time to type out the ceremony tonight, too.

I realized when I was all done beading, I was COMPLETELY relaxed.   It had taken me a couple of hours of very specific concentration.  Focusing on each bead.  Choosing the right color.  Counting the right amount of beads.  Running the needle and thread through the right beads.   Keeping the thread from knotting and fraying.   Did you know that when you make a pair of earrings like this, it is one single thread traveling through all of these beads in a very calculated manner?  Amazing.

My Valentine's Day earrings.
My Valentine’s Day earrings.
In response to your posts, here is a picture.  :)  Thanks for asking.  :)
In response to your posts, here is a picture. 🙂 Thanks for asking. 🙂

I was thinking I was beading because I needed earrings to wear while I officiate the wedding.   Something to match the theme.  Now I know I was beading because I needed something to quiet my heart.   I know with every fiber of my being, that the drive to make the earrings came from Someone greater than myself.   Someone who knows me better than I know myself.   Now that’s a Valentine’s Day gift!!   That’s Love!!

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV

Below is a random sampling of contributions made by other bloggers in response to this challenge.  For the whole list, visit the Writing Challenge page.

  1. Autumn’s Return | Lillie-Put
  2. Happy 3rd Birthday! | Sentiments of a Working Mom | Another Mommy Blog
  3. Weekly Writing Challenge: Valentine | medicinalmeadows
  4. Weekly Writing Challenge: My Funny Valentine? | Reinventing the We’ll
  5. St. Valentine’s Day « Mama Bear Musings
  6. My Deaf Words | FILMS | FOOD | POETRY
  7. What to write in a Valentine card | writemybrainsout
  8. The Letter [Weekly Writing Challenge] | Thoughts from Elysium
  9. Help! My Valentine Smells like Poop! | Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept…
  10. What if Cupid was pissed? | Okay, What if ?
  11. Too Much Heaven | Chasing the Stars
  12. Valentine’s Day Haters’ Club – Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge | Waiting on a Word
  13. Valentine’s Day Haters’ Club – Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge | Waiting on a Word
  14. The Valentine’s Day Card | Life’s Unfiltered Ramblings
  15. Words for Nancy | tnkerr-Writing Prompts and Practice
  16. An Open Letter to Valentine’s Day | meg lago
  17. The Joy of Books – A Guide for the Valentine’s Day Escape Artist | aliabbasali
  18. The Gift of a Heart for Valentine’s Day | Busy Mind Thinking
  19. Valentines day: do we really need it? | BIGMOUTH STRIKES AGAIN.
  20. Cupid’s Arrow | The View from My Corner of the World

Liebster Award Nomination

Liebster Award
Liebster Award

God bless you, Caroline Hills, author of the blog “101 Challenges in 1001 Days ”, for thinking of me for this award.  I am honored and truly thankful.   I started my blog January 19, 2014 and I was recognized with this award on January 22, 2014.  Wow.  I must say, I was speechless.  Thank you.

Nominating / Awarding and receiving the Liebster Award is a fun blog tradition.  It is recognition of bloggers, by bloggers.  There are no trophies or ceremonies.  However, there is the time and effort, as well as the cool logo and the rules, which promote networking and encouragement to one another.  Specifically, it is a way to encourage people who are just starting out.   For historical information and authenticity, you can search the internet for information.  (I did.  LOL) I encourage you take the time.

The Rules:

(1) Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog (see above!)
(2) You must answer the 10 questions given to you by the nominee before you.
(3) Nominate 10 of your favorite blogs with fewer than 200 followers and notify them of their nomination.
(4) Come up with 10 questions for your nominees to answer.

The 10 Questions I was asked:

(1) If you had the ability to time travel, when would you travel to?

That’s a tough question.  I like the modern conveniences of this day and age.  However, I would want to go back and learn about my ancestors, authentically.  I would want to visit my children and grandchildren in the future.  However, I don’t think I want to witness the world get any worse than it is now.  I’ve been to Israel and visited some of the “traditional” sights.  However, I would like to have visited them during Biblical times.  Double however (if there is such a thing), I think I know Jesus better now, than I would have then.  All of that said, if I had to pick a time, it would be the 1500’s and I would visit my ancestor, Matoaka (aka Pocahontas) and I would encourage her in her faith and spirituality, as well as sit at her feet to learn.

(2) What is your favorite film of all time?

I would have to say it’s a 3-way tie, “The King and I”, “French Kiss”, and “Out of Africa”.

(3) If you could write a letter to a younger version of yourself, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Hummm.  I do speak to my younger version of self often.  I’ve done more listening that teaching.  I would tell myself not to doubt and I would tell myself to believe in the inner voice.

(4) Where is your favorite place in the world?

My house.

(5) What three items would you take with you to a desert island?

A knife, a drum, and my Bible.

(6) What resolutions have you set yourself for this year?

To start a blog, to center myself more often, and to remember to ask Him first … all the time.

(7) If you could do anything you wanted ‘right now’, what would you be doing?

Sleeping.

(8) What is your biggest regret in life?

Times I’ve been legalistic and / or have made assumptions.

(9) What is your favorite recipe to cook?

Since I require a recipe for everything I cook, probably something that I can cook without a recipe.  I haven’t found it yet.

(10) What book would you recommend to a friend? (this helps me out with my challenge 21 – get 20 friends to recommend me a book and read them all!)

“Hinds Feet on High Places”

My 10 Blog Nominations, Not In Any Particular Order.

1. http://giselacarmona.wordpress.com/

2. http://litadoolan.net/

3. http://lymeautismalzheimer.wordpress.com/

4. http://stealingallthesevens.wordpress.com/

5. http://marthakennedy.wordpress.com/

6. http://leatherandabel.com/

7. http://asweetbrightthing.wordpress.com/

8. http://cornedbeefhashtag.wordpress.com/

9. http://capsulecreations.wordpress.com/

10. http://myweightolose.com/

The 10 Questions that I am asking YOU.

(1) What inspired you to write?

(2) What brings you the most peace?

(3) What would you like to accomplish this side of heaven?

(4) Do you live in the same country as your most distant ancestors?  Do you know or practice any of their customs?   Feel free to share about this …

(5) If you were to be a character in a mystery novel, what character would you be?

(6) What is your favorite food?

(7) What is your favorite type of music?

(8) What was your most frightening experience?

(9) Where would you like to travel?

(10) What is a little known fact about you?

Have fun!  Thanks for blogging!

I am honored to accept the “Field of Flowers Award”

Field of Flowers Award
Field of Flowers Award

I am honored to receive this award from both Lita Doolan, author of the blog “Any old world uncovered by new writing” and Gisela Carmona, author of the blog “Of love, life and some magic“.   Timing is everything, especially when you interpret life through the little things as well as the big ones.   Today, for instance.   The sun came out!!  The snow is melting!!  This time last week it was -20 F before windchill.  Now it is 45 F outside.   Hope is restored.  And on this same day, I received these beautiful flowers and life giving words of encouragement.   If not for the coincidence, which I do not believe in, I would be outside.   However, I feel compelled to respond to these gifts, as well as the one (Liebster) I received in January from Caroline Hills, author of the blog “101 Challenges in 1001 Days“.   I am delighted to receive these lovely awards.  Thank you, ladies.

(Honoring one another is of great importance.   Dear friends of mine have written a wonderful book called “Warfare By Honor“.  I learned a lot in reading it. )

All awards come with conditions with which to comply.

Rules

▪Thank the blogger who nominated you

▪Place the award on your blog

▪Nominate 7 other bloggers and write a little something about why you would give these bloggers

“A Field Of Flowers”

▪Let your nominees know that you nominated them

Here are my 7 nominees.  (These are in no particular order)

(1) Sophie.  Her blog is: British Chick Across The Pond.
I’m not sure what got me hooked exactly, however, I truly love her posts.  Maybe it is the title of her blog, because it reminds me of my old radio show.  Maybe it is the sense of adventure in moving so far away from home.   I’m enjoying her posts and I believe you will also.

(2) Wildflower. Her blog is: Dandelion’s Den.
I came across her blog through the WP Writing Challenge and was inspired by her post about the history between Philippines and China.  It pulled some heart strings.

(3) StandingInTheStorm.
This author is one of the first I met when I started my blog in January 2014.    I believe it was the common interest in horses that first caught my attention, as well as her vulnerability and openness in her recent loss of a loved one.

(4) Ranu. Her blog is: Sabethville.
I really like the layout of her blog as well as the content.  It has a good feel.

(5) Irene A Walters.  Her blog is: Reflections and Nightmares.
She is a writer and a memoirist.  I love her photography.

(6) The Wonder Thoughts.
I find this blog very entertaining.  I’m also intrigued by the idea of living in Mumbai.  It seems we starting blogging at about the same time.  Interesting how people are ‘moved’ and ‘touched’ to start an adventure, just like someone else on the other side of the world.

(7) Stormie Steele.
I just came across her blog yesterday.  Very inspirational.

Thank you all for doing what you do.  You are an encouragement and an inspiration.

Silas’ Reflections of Prison with Paul

My post for the Weekly Writing Challenge:  1,000 Words follows.   I’ve been searching for inspiration and direction all week, and this came to me this morning.  I’m writing about when Paul and Silas were in prison, using Acts chapter 16 in the NIV Archaeological Study Bible as reference point. …

As I run my fingers over the brick and mortar of these beautiful arches, I can’t help but  recall when Paul and I were sentenced without a trial and put in maximum security in a Roman prison.

That whole ordeal was crazy.  We were Roman citizens.  It should never have gone that far.  I just shake my head in … I don’t know … ‘wonder’, ‘awe’, the senselessness of it?  I guess I can’t say that.   The jailor and his family came to know the Lord.  What the Lord will do to touch the hearts of the people He loves.  To orchestrate all the little details that came together.  Maybe I do shake my head in wonder and awe.

We had been walking through a market place, heading to a place of prayer.  This slave girl would not leave us alone.  She was possessed by a python spirit, meaning she was like a puppet.  She did not speak for herself.  This thing spoke through her.   I remember, at the time, being somewhat curious why Paul was so irritated by her.  He had had enough.

What she was saying was true.  We were (are) servants of the Most High God.  We were teaching and preaching.  People were being saved, daily, by putting their faith in Jesus Christ.  What’s wrong with that?  Even if she was possessed?   Paul was frustrated and he cast the demon out.

I’m a prophet.  I’m a teacher.  My community sent me as a solid, strong voice to accompany Paul.  What did Paul understand that I didn’t?  Well, he explained that the poor girl was possessed.  It was the demon saying those things.  That demon was harassing us, like sarcasm and ridicule.   It had to stop.   In addition, that girl needed to be set free.  She was being exploited by man.  They had no concern for her well-being.   They just saw her a tool for making money.  The bonus was that in being delivered from the python spirit, she could think for herself, speak for herself, and come to believe and be saved, herself.

So, I guess, in looking back.  Who could say that only the jailor and his family was saved through that experience.  I had forgotten about her.  Her name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, also.  Nice!

Well, when Paul cast out the demon, the merchants were so upset, they had us arrested.   I was thinking, “Really?!  Now what?!  Lord, help us!”

We knew that there had to be a bigger picture.  We remembered what Jesus went through, being falsely accused and beaten.  He was fulfilling a greater purpose.  What was ours?   We did not commit a crime.  We were Roman citizens.  Roman practices demanded we have a fair trial and be treated well.  Yet, all of those benefits of citizenship were denied us.

We were stripped, beaten and flogged.  We were thrown in the inner prison, with our feet put in stocks.   Paul was sitting and I was lying on the floor.  Moving was nearly impossible.  When I close my eyes I can still see it all.

There were so many men in that prison.   The lost.  The forgotten.   Bruised, bleeding, starving.  It was a forsaken place.   I had only heard stories and rumors.  There was a time I had dismissed them as fairy tales.  Surely, the leaders of Rome were not that cruel.  Yet, here I was.   The bigger picture??  I was overwhelmed with compassion and grief.  Where is mercy and justice for these?  Where is a future and hope?  How does one even speak of miracles and salvation in this dark place that has never seen light.

The light did come.  Paul and I brought the light.  Suddenly, the pain, shock, hunger and bewilderment dissipated.   The power of the Holy Spirit filled the prison.  I knew my Lord was with us in that place.  We began to sing.

Paul started, softly at first.  I tried to follow along.  It’s hard to sing lying down.  I laugh now when I think about it.   As Roman Christians, our praise and worship is not as … well … lively.   (smile)  From my experience, Jewish style praise involved a lot of hand clapping and dancing.   Hard to accomplish in stocks.   We found a workable middle point.  Paul swayed and rocked as he sang.  I tried to sit up and eventually managed it.

The men throughout this inner cell watched and listened.  We could sense with every fiber of our being that they were experiencing scrutiny, curiosity, hope and maybe a little entertainment.  In a sense, we all did.  What else was there?

Then it happened!  There was an earthquake.  The floors and walls shook.  The doors flew open and all of the chains came loose.   The tears still stream down my face as I think about it.  Look around you, at these brick walls.  These beautiful arches.  The floor.  The magnificence.   How could anything make this shake?  What power is that strong?

We knew it was God.   Although we were free, we stayed.   For the others, it was probably fear and the fact no one had moved since they got here.   The doors were open and the chains undone.  The bodies were still, frozen, atrophied.  But the hearts were light!

The jailor was mortified!  Bless that man.  He thought we had all run off.   The shame.  He was overcome.  In fact, we saw him reach for his sword.  He was going to suicide.   We yelled at the top of our voices, “Stop!!  We are still here!”    He called for someone to bring in some light.   You should have seen his face as he looked around in wonder.  He fell before Paul and I and he cried.

After a moment, he looked up at us and asked us what he must do to be saved.   Well, then I started to cry.   The suffering was worth it.   The Lord did remember all of these lost souls in the center of this prison.  The prisoners and the jailors, alike.  This place and these people were not forgotten.  There are no words. ….

..

Following are 24 of the more recent posts in this Writing Challenge.  For all of the contributors, visit the original challenge page.  Click Here.

  1. Accumulation of Hallowness | Corned Beef Hashtag
  2. Contemplation – Ramblings from the Swamp
  3. objectify | yi-ching lin photography
  4. Lost in Transition | Chasing the Stars
  5. Weekly Writing Challenge: 1000 words on Contemplation | The Ageless Dummy
  6. The day the bricks fell [creative] | Ryan Erickson
  7. Relaxation | Of love, life and such magic
  8. Weekend ~ 2/7/14 ~ Livestrong, Luck, Love & Anja’s Art | DCTdesigns Creative Canvas
  9. The urgent comfort | M. James
  10. Contemplating: Career Crossroads, Callings and Chide Choices | capsulecreations
  11. Weekly Writing Challenge: 1000 Words ~Resentment… | StormieSteele
  12. Weekly Writing Challenge: the justice of ribbons | Amoeba Kat Musings
  13. Weightless | My Weigh To Lose
  14. Adam Ickes | Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words
  15. WHY PHILIPPINES WON’T SAY SORRY TO HONG KONG? | DANDELION’S DEN
  16. It’s all about the fish… | LEATHER & ABEL
  17. Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words | Occasional Stuff
  18. something worth sharing…. | twenty thirteen
  19. Childhood neighbors | My Weigh To Lose
  20. wordpress weekly writing challenge: emptiness | Phylor’s Blog
  21. The Teacher – Weekly Writing Challenge | Momus News
  22. Dream into the Abyss – wordpress weekly writing challenge | 101 Challenges in 1001 Days
  23. Today I discovered that clouds are three-dimensional | Take a break – watch the clouds.
  24. Piggy’s body – 1000 word challenge | alienorajt