Into The Light

into-the-light

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Immigrants

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Tuesday, I observed but yesterday, I taught my first class of ESL (English as a Second Language) to a group of LEGAL aliens who are desperate to learn our language. Husbands, wives, men and women from all walks of life: professional, technical, domestic and some older folks who’ve finally joined their younger families here. I’ve got people from Viet Nam, China, Venezuela, India, Morroco, Iran, Turkey, Russia…you name it. From all over. I taught at a local Catholic church to people who come from Muslim families, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and some who don’t believe anything.

The classes are free. The teachers are all volunteers.

They want to learn to pronounce words like ‘husband’, ‘granddaughter’, ‘happy’ and ‘coffee’. They stare at my mouth to see how I pronounce my words – like the word ‘THIS’. They can’t go from the ‘th’ sound to the ‘s’ sound. How can I get to some action concept of walking or drinking when I can’t get past ‘THIS’? They see how I write it on the white board, and they type it into their smartphones, which translates the word and says it to them in their own language and oh! the surprise when they now understand what word we are working on. Goodness, its so much more involved than I could imagine.

There are 4 levels of instruction being offered. The higher levels focus on verb tense, idioms (like 2 left feet or I’m all thumbs) and terms used when opening a savings account at a bank.

One never knows how God will work in our lives. I feel blessed to share our American ways with the strangers I met yesterday. May God bless them too.

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Psalm 8

Last night in our Men’s Bible Study, we continued the Tony Evans DVD series called Kingdom Man.  I followed that up with today’s workbook assignment by reading Psalm 8 which I copied below from http://www.biblegateway.com :

Psalm 8[a]

For the director of music. According to gittith.[b] A psalm of David.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?[c]

You have made them[d] a little lower than the angels[e]
    and crowned them[f] with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their[g] feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 8:1 In Hebrew texts 8:1-9 is numbered 8:2-10.
  2. Psalm 8:1 Title: Probably a musical term
  3. Psalm 8:4 Or what is a human being that you are mindful of him, / a son of man that you care for him?
  4. Psalm 8:5 Or him
  5. Psalm 8:5 Or than God
  6. Psalm 8:5 Or him
  7. Psalm 8:6 Or made him ruler . . . ; / . . . his

Read vs 5 again.  In my notes from my workbook, I read this morning a most profound statement. It reads:

When you become a Kingdom Man, you don’t turn into something different, you simply embrace what God created you to be. You find the purpose for your creation.

The Enemy doesn’t want you to know that. He doesn’t want you to know God has given you glory, honor and dominion to live out on earth. No, he’d much rather have you think you’re nobody, you don’t matter and you have no say or influence. That way he can keep the kingdom of God from advancing, because those who’ve been given the legitimate authority to advance it have been lulled into thinking that they lack significance and authority.

At some point you may have lost the leverage of your destiny and authority. Maybe through poor decisions or neglect, you’ve forgotten what it means to be a man. But it’s never too late to wake up.

Today, I’m going to let that sink in and believe it!

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Home Crafted Beer

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I don’t drink that much beer. I’m more of a wine drinker. But I do love home crafted beers so, I’m scratching off another one of my Bucket List items.

I’m making beer!

Two more weeks to go on my Amber Ale now that I’ve got it all bottled up. The whole process for this recipe takes about 4 weeks from cooking, fermenting bottling and aging.

I used Northern Brewer HomeBrew Supply but there are many local suppliers for all your needs. For now, having all the items in one box that’s shipped right to my front door works out very nicely for me. This Amber Ale kit goes for about $38 and will make around 2 cases of beer.

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Flare Ups

flare-ups

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Blindsided

blindsided

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The Midnight Special

midnight-special
Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, was an American Folk and Blues musician. Born in 1889 and died in 1949 at the age of 60, Lead Belly had a rough life, landing in prison in Sugar Land, Texas back in 1918. It was here that he most likely learned the song that has made him famous – Midnight Special – recorded many times but the version I first heard was by Credence Clearwater Revival. Lead Belly was pardoned by the governor of Texas in 1925 and set free. In 1930, Lead Belly was again sent to prison in Louisiana for stabbing a man but it was here that he was ‘discovered’ by John and Allan Lomax who recorded him for the Library of Congress. Through their actions, Lead Belly was released and this time stayed out of trouble. Lead Belly went on to record and perform his Blues and enjoyed the success of his talents. He gave us many wonderful recordings that have been covered by Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Elvis, Van Morrison and many more.
The abandoned Central Unit prison where Lead Belly was imprisoned adjoins the Sugar Land airport where I work. I am a music lover and a Blues fanatic. Not many people care about Blues history, but I do. Its the foundation for most of the rock and roll that I grew up on – from The Rolling Stones to ZZ Top to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Each day from my airport, I look out at the white prison building and the railroad tracks that run right in front of the prison along Highway 90 and I think of the time Lead Belly spent here. I actually get to hear the train whistle or horn as those same railroad tracks are in use today hauling passengers and cargo. Those prisoners heard that midnight train whistle back then and sang songs about it. Songs that longed for freedom and an easier life.
As awful as that time must have been, I have had a burning desire to see that prison. I have been so concerned that the City would just tear down this landmark and fail to honor the musical heritage of the prison blues and music that came as a comfort from such a horrible part of many men’s lives. Last month, one of the city officials who has access to that old prison, took me over there where I was able to explore and photograph the inside, which, of course was much different back then. But it quenched a 5 year desire that I’ve had since I started working at this airport.
By the way, my airport was originally started by Dr. Hull who piloted his own aircraft and would land in what was then just a sugar cane or cotton field that the prisoners farmed. He was a dentist who had a contract with the Texas prison system and flew to the different prison sites to administer to the prisoners.
Although its a smaller part of this image, the prison bars and Central Unit letters are from that photo shoot. This project allowed me to combine 3 of my lifetime loves into one image: The Blues, Photography and Texas History.
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