Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Generous and Enigmatic Oliver Swinford

               




            I can go a long time without meeting anyone whose words stay with me. Lately, I am a bit weary of people, particularly those who flutter like angry wasps on social media. I have concluded that a lot of people are angry about one thing or another and don't miss the chance to spread that anger far and wide, a bit like a toddler spreading several bowls of chocolate icing over a yellow cake and the rest of a kitchen. Today was different, however. I was out with one of my sons, and a grandson and we quite accidentally made the acquaintance of another author. I don't know why we at first spoke, but he was uncharacteristically generous with his time and his gaze.  He was, for some reason, very familiar, and yet we have never met. It took some time for me to establish why. He is one of those people who has either died or come damn near it, just to return with uncommon knowledge. People like those not only have a different gaze than the rest of us, but they have a generosity of spirit and a recognition of souls most others can't dream of, let alone describe.  Most of us walk through life hoping that only good things will happen, but this man walks with the knowledge that for all of us, bad things will happen too, and that somehow, our souls will remain intact, and it will ultimately okay anyway.  It's also excellent fodder for writing as well.






                 I could not wait to get home, get online and read some of the work of this person.  I know a lot of talented authors.  Oliver Swinford is one of the most talented authors I have had the pleasure of meeting.  I highly recommend his book, On Cloudless Days.   This work has been described by others as captivating, compelling, and psychologically captivating. I not only agree, but I think the work is a pretty fair reflection of the man himself.

                 If my son Daniel were alive today, I have no doubt that he and Oliver Swinford would be friends. I was pleasantly reminded of Daniel and how he looked at life and of the things which befall us in this life, as I spoke with Mr. Swinford.   Please buy this book as soon as you can.



https://www.amazon.com/Cloudless-Days-Oliver-Swinford/dp/1329389379/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

 

 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Please See:" The Short Life of Peep"

Sometimes God sends some animals for a short stay here on Earth.


  Please see one of my other blogs, "Life After The Rescues" for the story of Peep, a Rhode Island Red hatchling at:


http://lifeaftertherescues.blogspot.com/2016/07/the-short-life-of-peep.html





Sunday, June 12, 2016

On This Sunday

This morning, I felt compelled to share this. In these difficult times, perhaps we should read more.

 

Habakkuk 3 

New International Version (NIV)

Habakkuk’s Prayer

A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth.[a]
Lord, I have heard of your fame;
    I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord.
Repeat them in our day,
    in our time make them known;
    in wrath remember mercy.
God came from Teman,
    the Holy One from Mount Paran.[b]
His glory covered the heavens
    and his praise filled the earth.
His splendor was like the sunrise;
    rays flashed from his hand,
    where his power was hidden.
Plague went before him;
    pestilence followed his steps.
He stood, and shook the earth;
    he looked, and made the nations tremble.
The ancient mountains crumbled
    and the age-old hills collapsed—
    but he marches on forever.
I saw the tents of Cushan in distress,
    the dwellings of Midian in anguish.
Were you angry with the rivers, Lord?
    Was your wrath against the streams?
Did you rage against the sea
    when you rode your horses
    and your chariots to victory?
You uncovered your bow,
    you called for many arrows.
You split the earth with rivers;
10     the mountains saw you and writhed.
Torrents of water swept by;
    the deep roared
    and lifted its waves on high.
11 Sun and moon stood still in the heavens
    at the glint of your flying arrows,
    at the lightning of your flashing spear.
12 In wrath you strode through the earth
    and in anger you threshed the nations.
13 You came out to deliver your people,
    to save your anointed one.
You crushed the leader of the land of wickedness,
    you stripped him from head to foot.
14 With his own spear you pierced his head
    when his warriors stormed out to scatter us,
gloating as though about to devour
    the wretched who were in hiding.
15 You trampled the sea with your horses,
    churning the great waters.
16 I heard and my heart pounded,
    my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
    and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
    to come on the nation invading us.
17 Though the fig tree does not bud
    and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
    and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
    and no cattle in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
    I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
    he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
    he enables me to tread on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.



Saturday, June 4, 2016

Electronic Notes Through the Veil Which Separates Us




 Daniel,

      I know that you and Dad watch us sometimes.    Your sister had asked me to "inspect" her house before the appraisal for her refinance recently, and I felt you there with me.   I am also pretty sure that you and Dad were the ones telling me in dream to check the Summer house and that there was damage there. (Thank you by the way. I have hired someone for the repairs and they are under way.)  The caretaker phoned to tell me the same, the following day, after I had mentioned the dream to your Dad.  I still miss you both very much and I think of you both often.  
        Daniel, you passed just after Barack Obama was elected, and from his writings you and I were both concerned about the direction of our country.  It actually has been worse than you and I had anticipated.  In some ways I am glad that you are not here to have seen the wanton disregard of our Constitution and the mismanagement of our country and world affairs by this regime.  The choices for the next election are not good.  One candidate is frequently dishonest and self serving and mismanaged her role as Secretary of State. Another potential candidate is out of touch and a communist.  The presumptive candidate for the Republican ticket says things that a lot of people think, but seems cavalier in some of his comments, and erratic sometimes.  Sometimes a small part of me is glad that you are home safely and not subjected to this.
       I know you pray because you always did.  Please pray for us, and for our country.  Your siblings especially have a hard road to hoe.  Your nephew will as well.  With that, I send the warmest hugs to you both.  I am doing the best I can.





Thursday, May 26, 2016

Almost Eight Years Ago

   
I liked it, and I thought of you, but then I could not bring it home.
 
               

  Daniel,


            Many times I function very well.  I do what I need to do as a parent and as a grandparent.  I take good care of your animals and their descendants.  Every once in a while there is something that I see or hear which triggers less than a happy recollection.  I think today was one of those days.  I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription for someone and I saw a small blue and white house flag.   It said
        

     If tears could build a stairway,
    and memories a lane.
    I would walk right up to Heaven
    and bring you back again.


                             (Author unknown)

     
  I picked up the flag and added it to the few things I bought there. It will look nice on the small flag holder near the driveway. Then I thought about it some more.  You were called to Heaven supernaturally.  No clear explanation of why you passed has ever been demonstrated.  Repeated autopsies found nothing wrong but concluded that the manner in which you fell coupled with family history among older family members probably pointed to an abrupt cardiac arrhythmia.  You were called home by God in just a few seconds. Even though I gave CPR immediately, I never got you back. You were no longer there when I began.   If I were to build a bridge and walk up to Heaven to bring you home then I am doubting the plan of God. God needed you home in Heaven, and by saying I would bring you home I am doing something contrary to God's plan for you, for me , and for this family.    Still,  I love you and I miss you more than words can say.   I left the flag in the store.  I chose to trust God's plan for us all.  Perhaps this is as close to acceptance of what happened to which I will ever arrive.


              






Sunday, May 8, 2016

Forgotten ?

              
Oil painting    Simon Gaon

 

        I have wondered how long it would take before people outside our family completely forgot about Daniel's passing. How long would it take for us to get to a point where his birthday would come and go, and no one would say anything, via card, or via e-mail or phone call ?   I have that answer now.  This week would have been Daniel's twentieth birthday had we been lucky enough to have his soul remain with us in a flesh suit here on Earth.  There was not one phone call, not one e-mail, not one card and few who came to the blog to see what would be here.  It took only seven and a half years for all of those who knew you to be absorbed by the Earthly and to forget. People have their own problems, their own grief and their own losses.

               It doesn't matter.  Our family won't forget. I won't forget.  For as long as I live you will be one of the most important reasons I came to Earth. Daniel, you and your siblings made the trip, as arduous, as difficult and as hard as it sometimes is, worth it.

                Today is Mother's Day and it looks as if that has been forgotten too.  It doesn't matter.  Had you been here, I know you would have remembered.  As I move through life more and more waits for me where you are.




Monday, May 2, 2016

Daniel's Twentieth Birthday

       


 
   Sometimes, it's hard to believe that this week, had you remained here on Earth, you would be twenty years old. It shouldn't be amazing to me. Some of your friends are in college and have girl friends, and are decidedly man sized.  In my heart though, you are somewhere between twelve and nineteen, a beautiful boy who simply had not yet been corrupted in the ever deteriorating world that the remainder of your family occupies. No wonder God called you home. Perhaps in his place I would have also. In dreams I have had, you have been about thirty, and so wise.

              This week I had an interesting experience.  Your sister and I were on our way back from an errand with her baby, and we stopped at a Burger King. I stayed in the car with the baby, and your sister went inside to get the food.  All at once, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young man of about twenty walking from the highway up to the Burger King. For just a moment, simply from his walk, I wondered if it were you. As he drew closer, I could see that he had a red long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of khaki cargo pants on. He had brown hair with the same distribution that you had, and a bit of facial hair stubble as if he were attempting to grow a beard, but it had been a fairly recent thought. He walked right past the car, saw me, and there wasn't even a hint of recognition. Sometimes it still surprises me that someone who looks something like you, doesn't recognize me. It's silly, I know.   As I watched him walk into the restaurant I told myself that as of this week, that the man walking in would likely be the size you would be now, had you still been here. He was about six feet tall and of average to muscular build.

         When your sister returned with the food, she had seen him too and thought that he looked like you also.   I am at a loss as to what to do for your birthday this week. In the past I have sent canned goods to the food bank. I know you always enjoyed doing that.  Other years I have done a secret good deed in your name. Some sad years I have simply made you a birthday cake I know you would have liked. Of course, your brothers and sister, and now your nephew consume it.   This year I am already planning your cake. I will play the good deed by ear.





           There is less turmoil regarding your birthday and the anniversary of your departure from Earth. However, I am never okay with your being gone.  Sometimes, it's as if you are on a special outing, perhaps an exchange student program, and that my job is to keep the farm maintained and ready for your return. I know that is not going to be, but sometimes that's how it seems.

         I miss you and my Dad very much.  Happy Birthday........and I love you more.




Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Dies

       

 

        Today, the sheriff's department in Hennepin County, Minnesota went out to Prince's estate to find him in cardiac arrest in an elevator. Although CPR was performed, he was later pronounced dead.  Within the past week his private plane had made an emergency stop in Illinois so that he could go to a hospital with a severe case of the flu. Some news outlets have been reporting that he had a prior medical history of epilepsy.  His real name was Prince Rogers Nelson and those who have met him or worked with him have said he was a true musical prodigy, He worked in the music business successfully for over 35 years. He was 57 at the time of his passing.
                    He is probably best known for the songs "1999", "When Doves Fly", "Lets Go Crazy" "Kiss" , and of course, "Little Red Corvette".  He not only performed, but wrote hits for Sheila E, Sheena Easton, and the Bangles.

   "Six o'clock already and I was just in the middle of a dream"
    "I was kissing Valentino in a crystal blue Italian stream"

    (From Manic Monday)     This is vintage Prince.

   One of my personal favorites is a song Prince wrote that was specifically written for and recorded by Celine Dion.







He is also known for the the aid he gave to other musicians in terms of assisting them in the music business.

             I remember well that the year in which Daniel was born saw the birth of Prince's only child.  The child had significant birth defects and Prince and his wife did everything they could for him. I believe the boy spent most of his life in the hospital until he died. The following year, the two were divorced.

              Prince impacted several generations with his music.  It's hard to believe that both he and Michael Jackson are now gone.   Prince released two albums last year and had worked up to a week or so ago.

             Prince was known for being intensely private.  He was also a Jehovah's Witness and did go door to door on occasion.  The band in Heaven just gets better and better.

             I send my condolences to his family, his friends, and the remaining members of his band.





Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A Visit to Elmira, New York in Dream

         

 

   Last night I had the most strange dream.  The family and I were traveling out of state to meet someone who was providing both a reference and a great opportunity for a job for our eldest son. The family was happy to travel there with him so that he could be alert and well rested for the appointment.  As he often is in my dreams, Daniel was with us.  We arrived in Elmira, New York and attended an afternoon party at the home of the man who was providing our son with a reference. He had a large home which had everything from a bar inside to an English garden outside. The party spilled throughout the house and through the gardens.  The gathering was very nice and we all had a nice time. We realized, as we took quite a time to gather our large family, that no one had seen Daniel since the beginning of the party.   The rest of the dream was spent with the family wandering through different businesses in Elmira looking for Daniel. He had visited several shops and had apparently left the party to explore. He had no cell phone.  Of course, in real life, Daniel has been gone for seven years. In real life, Daniel would not leave somewhere without someone knowing where he is and how to reach him. He would also have borrowed a cell phone in order to stay in touch. In the dream, I was truly worried and afraid because although he would be nineteen now, in the dream, he was twelve and a half.




              I awoke in a sea of perspiration, with the instant knowledge that I not only would not be retrieving him from Elmira, New York, but that he had been gone from Earth for seven years already. I have no idea why the dream was set in Elmira. I haven't driven through there since 1983 when I used to drive the rural routes from our home in rural New Jersey to Montreal.  In a sense, I suppose I lost Daniel during the journey that is life. Perhaps the dream is simply my own restatement of this.




Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Message to Daniel


Sam Shepheard



Daniel,

 Today, one of my friends from Linkedin reported that his son Sam had passed overnight in his sleep. Most of us know how lost we would be, as parents, if we were to lose one of our children, especially unexpectedly. We could imagine what a loss and a devastation that could be. However, our family has actually lost a son unexpectedly.  You passed in an instant almost seven years ago, and although I recognize the shock, the loss and the grief, I am short of any real wisdom.

    What can I say to his father Craig ?   I could tell him that Heaven is real and that Sam is safe with God and is free from the limits our bodies and brains place upon our far more perfect souls. I could tell him that I have heard from you, and my Dad in dream, and that you have provided factual information in advance of our hearing it later from others here on Earth.   I could tell him that at first, when the pain is so new, that the memories of all that you and your child have shared, are locked away in your mind and your heart for safekeeping. Eventually, each of those memories come back one by one, almost in technicolor. The moments of your hugs and things you said are now some of the very best memories of my own life here on Earth. I want to tell him not to evaporate. I want to tell him that it's worth continuing to live and that there is good left in his life.  Sam will be there when it is time for him to leave this life.

       Daniel, if it's possible for you to welcome Sam, I would appreciate it.   I remember you, and think of you every day here on Earth.  I love you wider than the oceans and deeper than the seas, and I believe you have always known that.

        May God bless Craig and his family, Sam,  you and my Dad.