compassion, confession, faith

Month: May, 2016


Taking a two week vacation from the job is just what I needed. With uncertainty that awaits me when I return to work and the job burnout this has helped.

My wife needed this as much as I. The hectic life of watching the grandkids on weekends till her daughters last day of school has been rewarded. Now we can both getaway for another week.

Six days of living among the pine forest in a cabin, lake fishing and relaxing evenings around the fire pit are what she wanted. She has been collecting stuff to pack for the trip a little at a time.

We have family staying in the house while we are gone. That alone is a great release from worry.

I was going to put to plant the tomato plants but, they will have to wait till we return. The yard has been mowed. No more worry.

The overwhelmed feeling can be diminished by prayer and the retreat from daily living.



When things are going along well, we are able to take of routine maintenance and keep up with the necessary repairs, but in rough times these things can get away from us.  When it comes to a house, we might end up with peeling paint, a sagging roof or floors and even a few broken windows.  If this trend continues unchecked, a house can become a ruin.

Houses are not the only things that can suffer when the owners don’t keep up with regular maintenance.  Spiritually the same thing can take place.

When things are right, we spend time in God’s Word, we have time each day for prayer; time to spend with the Lord.  When we are doing this, we will probably have no problem serving others, giving or going to classes or small groups at church…  These kinds of things are the regular maintenance of a spiritual life…

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Bring the Rain

My previous post as I read again now is a lame excuse for my actions. I wrote it and  stays as is.

The heart felt lesson learned from the post is that I made serious errors and now I have to answer for those mistakes.

There are lyrics to a song by Mercy Me, that say, ” Maybe since my life has changed long before these rainy days. And I know there’ll be days when this life brings me pain. But if that’s what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain”.

There is a reason why this has happen now in my career so close to retirement. It could be that I haven’t gone to Him when the storm of uncertainty loomed around me. One day I will know, when I stand before Him and give an account for my life He gave to me.  I will overcome this and my faith will not be shaken. As the wristband I am wearing says, “I am Second”, so will I always trust in Him. What’s a little rain.

Where is the reasoning

As an underground lines locator no two locates are alike. Here is an example. Some locate requests ask for a radius of a corner to be located for all utility lines. Another may request a number of feet within a described area. Most of the time I have at access to files indicating where all of the lines are underground for the type of utility I locate.

Within the last the last month I had located lines that were marked wrong. In the first hit as we call them, where a line is by the excavator, I had no access to the base of a signal pole because the cover’s bolt would not break loose. Later my supervisor says to break off the cover to gain access and report it.

The second hit was our expressway lighting system. That was a line where I could have activated the controller to light up the everything on the circuit. Covering the photocell doesn’t always work because the controller has a blown internal fuse which I am not qualified to replace.

The third hit was at an offset intersection of three streets and two traffic signals with one traffic signal controller. This was as we locators call a blind locate because no files are available to find all underground lines. I was asked by my department to locate all the lines and indicate on a sheet where the lines were.

On the third hit I assumed that everything I marked was actually there underground. A week later after a recent rain event most of the marks were washed away. Even though I had turned in a sheet on all the lines marked, one line was hit.

In my job description it states that 99% of all my locates have to be correct. Now, I do in one year hundreds of locates requests. Three out of those hundreds is hardly over 1%.

I was told by my supervisor that from now on when a line is hit because of it was located wrong, I was to help repair the line. On the first hit the line was removed eventually by the excavator along with the signal pole base too so the original work could be completed.

On the second hit I worked with the repair crew on the expressway lighting.

When the third hit had occurred I was informed that I would be taken off of locating and placed elsewhere within the department. I have been the sole locator in my department for nine years. Then the bombshell is dropped. I am told that a disciplinary hearing will be held on this matter.

I had requested two weeks vacation after the second hit.When the hearing was made known to me I was informed that no vacation would be approved. Being fully vested in my pension I made an appointment for the following week to find out all I could on my options. I informed my supervisor of my appointment by email. My plan was not to retire until next year.

The next day after sending the email, I am told that the two week vacation is approved .  Having been to my appointment I am comfortable with my plans but, if I can not return to my locating position I will retire this year.

Since I have been an employee in our department for thirty-four years and my department wanting to discipline an employee with 34 years of service and a year before retirement makes no sense to me. Where is the reasoning  for their actions ?

Trusting Adult Kids to God’s Care (Even when it really freaks you out)

The Beggar's Bakery


By: Jana Greene

Yesterday was Mother’s Day, and because it was Mother’s Day, I cried a lot. I cried because it is my first totally empty nest Mother’s Day. I cried because  my own relationship with my mother is fractured into a bazillion pieces. I cried because someone I love didn’t acknowledge me at all. I did have a few tear-free segments of the day, but menopause was around to keep the good times rolling.

I may or may not have fed my feelings heaping spoonfulls of Haagen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Ice Cream.

I’m still kind of mopey, honestly. But I’m getting a grip today. I must get a grip today.

Saturday, my two adult daughters and I had a wonderful time celebrating the occasion early (the youngest had to work Sunday, so we did Saturday instead.) This morning, I was thinking of our unconventional, hug-filled, and hilarious times when…

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He protects me

Years ago before I knew that my spirit could protect me from harm a vehicle threw me on the hood.  My job puts me in the street daily, because the underground lines I locate at intersections cross under the street.

One early morning as the sun was to my back a small truck turned into the lane I was marking. When he realized that I was within his field of vision he applied the brake. Because the sun was to my back he couldn’t see me. I saw that he was about to hit me and there was not enough time to safely get away. Just as he was about to run into me I jumped onto his hood of the truck. I sustained no injury luckily.

I have learned much from reading scripture. If I pray for guidance the spirit intercedes for us. It is written; You however are not in the realm of the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.

Knowing what I do now praying that God watch over me and keep me from harm is comforting. Now I know that driving public may be busy on their phones or any other kind of distraction at any time that I am in the street. So I have begun to say a simple prayer asking that He keeps me alert to any kind of danger before exiting my work truck.

I rarely pray for anything because I know He knows what I need. When I do pray it is thanking Him for what he has provided or for someone else. As I said, it is comforting knowing He can protect me probably because He keeps me alert at all times. It is so easy to become distracted to what going on around me. Our God is a good, good father. A good father looks out for his children.



Fast foreword from yesterday’s post of childhood memories to the early nineteen sixties.

Those were the years of life in New York state and what a childhood it was. We started off in Utica. My parents purchased a house in a neighborhood situated on the slope of a hill overlooking the outskirts of Utica. Dad worked for a Utica Tools. Hand tools that is. I remember him giving as gifts at Christmas rolls of wrenches.  Back then and probably still today when a complete set of wrenches are sold they come rolled up in a pockets of a plastic material.

Some years later the folks bought a house in Clinton, New York. Clinton was considered to be a village. Small enough I suppose not to be called a town. What a beautiful village it was at that. In the center of the shopping / business district was a town square. This square was a park with a small fountain , a bandstand, tree lined. Every Christmas the whole square was decorated. We lived in a house two blocks from the village center. Our home was three stories if the rooms in the attic could be considered living space. A full basement with three rooms down there. One room years ago was used for coal storage when coal was used for heating. My brother and I bought a small crate of red worms from a magazine in an attempt to grow our own fishing worms. He and I learned the hard way that worms live on more than old newspapers and kitchen scraps.

Clinton was where my brother, sister and I learned to swim. Our swimming class was held in the mornings at the municipal pool. Summer in New York are cool in the morning, so swimming lessons could be down right chilly. So chilly that extended periods in the pool gave our lips a purple color. The village had two schools, elementary and high school. During high school football games apple cider was sold in quart and gallon jugs. This I remember clearly because the bottles were refundable at the apple cider mill adjacent to the football stadium. It seems all bottles whether soda pop, beer bottles and the apple cider jugs could be returned for cash. My brother and I had enough profit from returnables to buy candy and marbles year all long.

In my last post I mentioned that our father hadn’t spent much time with us to have a close relationship. While in New York State as a family we visited Canada and Niagara Falls,the Catskills and went to the coast of Maine once, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Still to this day any memory of being close to my father is non existent, even after all of those wonderful family vacations.

Having a brother to hangout with and do what boys do at an early age is what is memorable. Clinton, New York was a perfect place to explore back then. Fishing with my father’s fishing gear that he rarely used in the local clear running creeks was where my brother and I could be found. Sledding in the winter with other kids anywhere a hill was, provided much exercise. Raking big piles of leaves in the autumn just to jump into. What more could a child ask for?

Every Friday night we ate fish because that’s what Catholics did. Sometimes the whole family would walk to the village center and eat at a restaurant for fish dinners. Just once do I remember going with my father to the local bar where I sat with him while he had a beer. This appears to be when I came to realize that maybe my father may have become an alcoholic like his father father had.

Some time later though the exact time is unknown to me my father lost his job there at Utica Tools. Years later my mother said it was because of his drunkenness.


Memory turned memoir

I recently finished reading a memoir. The author had written about his Christmas memories. Humorous as it was, it still brought back my own memories of my childhood.

When I attempt to remember anything of my childhood years they don’t come without really thinking for a long time.

It will take me many posts to get it all out. When I started thinking about the task before me one thing came to mind. My wife has told me plenty of times that she knows very little too nothing about me. She did help me when I was pursuing an annulment in our church. Even then that was limited to past marriages mostly.

My birth certificate states what hospital, what state, what town and date. Of course my parents are listed along with weight and other vital information. From then till when I recollect anything is not till early school years.

It seems as though most memories of anyone’s Catholic education back in the 1950’s are stories worth telling. Mine is no different then others. Nuns were our teachers. In those years they wore a full habit as seen in films of that period. Yes, children obedient are  under their authority in the classroom. There are few memories from those first two years. The one memory that stands out is when in second grade I asked to use the restroom but, was told I would have to wait. Waiting didn’t happen when I crapped my pants. Funny as it sounds, it was probably one of my most embarrassing moments ever in early childhood.

During those years we lived in suburb of Cleveland, Ohio.  Willowick , Willowby, Wickliff all are suburbs of Cleveland. We lied in Willowick according to my mother. Cleveland being on Lake Erie wasn’t any place we ventured to. There is one time that stood out. My father took us to a Cleveland Browns football game one winter. All I can remember was how damn cold it was and that it was snowing. Summertime was much more enjoyable no doubt. One summer my father invited people over to our place for a clam feast. Cold beer kept in tubs of ice, fresh raw clams, everything else was what guests brought with them.

Throughout my childhood it is hard to remember my father and I having a close relationship. It must have been that he and his father didn’t have one either. His father from what I had learned was a railroad worker who spent time after work in saloons in Chicago back in the thirties and forties before his death in nineteen forty five. Later I will bring this up again. My own father’s occupation had us moving every three or fours years as required by his employer. Just today when I started this post I could only remember three friends from our years in Willowick, Ohio.

Going through old family photos will surely help me remember more before proceeding on to the next chapter of my childhood.