30 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Closing Thoughts

Greetings Dear Reader,

I have so very much for which to be thankful.  I could dedicate a daily blog to just gratitude and it would only be a drop in the ocean of acknowledging the Father’s providence.  I wish to never forget to be grateful.

My desire is for gratitude to be a at core part of my being.  I never wish to take anyone for granted.  I want to acknowledge and value every kindness.  I need to treasure all the good things in my life.  I wish to assure that from that gratitude flow generosity and compassion.

As I make the turn toward Advent I will carry this thinking with me.  It is not a season of getting.  It is a season of giving.  A truly grateful heart loves to give.  I wish to use a heart of gratitude to enter the Advent season with a song of hope for everyone. 

I am so very thankful for you Dear Reader.  Your questions, your comments, your support, and your friendship make the journey so much sweeter.  I hope that you  find things for which to have great gratitude.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

29 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Jesus

Greetings Dear Reader,

Every time I ponder the name of Jesus it is something awesome to me.  I realize that not all of you value Jesus as I value him.  You will never receive judgment from me over it.  Nonetheless, I see Jesus as the most precious thing in the universe.

I know where my life was headed before my encounter with Jesus.  I would not be here.  My Children would not be here.  My Grandchildren would not exist.   I would not have been privileged to teach thousands of students. 

It is because of Jesus that I have created stories and novels.  It his providence that allows me to craft songs and poems.  It is through his many gifts to my life that I get to share good things with others. 

I know that many who say they follow Christ do not show him as the loving sacrificing God that he is.  I realize that through history many things have been done in his name that should not be done.  I am thankful that an honest look at Jesus shows him to be so much more.

As I end my “season of gratitude” and make the turn toward Advent I long for you, Dear Reader to see how thankful I am for Jesus.  He is the reason for all that we can be that is good.  He is the one in whom we can live, and move, and have our being. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

28 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Amazon (but not what you may think)

Greetings Dear Reader,

The nature of my shopping is that I buy many things on line.  I would say that seventy percent of my presents given arrive via Amazon or other online stores.  I am thankful for this but it is not the main reason why I am thankful for Amazon.

What Amazon does that is so great is that they have created a site that one can use to direct funds to a chosen charity or civic organization.  It is www.Smile.Amazon.com .  It is simple to sign up and then you shop just as you would on regular Amazon.  Prime works just the same.  The same discounts and deals apply.  The only difference is that others benefit from your purchases at no cost to you.

My chosen organization is Community Living Connections (CLC).  They are a well-grounded local service “provides community supported living services to adults with developmental disabilities who live in their own homes”.  They have served my community for many years and every cent helps them to do it better.   If you have no organization you want to support, Dear Reader you might consider them.

I know that I have purchased more through Amazon since the launched Smile.  I want my dollars to also support CLC.   I want to know that even refilling my supplies or buying a new novel helps those with greater needs than mine.   I see no reason not to use this service if you make purchases this way.  I am thankful that such a retail giant has invested in helping our local community organizations this way.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

27 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Smiles

Greetings Dear Reader,

Last Tuesday evening I was walking through a parking lot when I passed a young lady leaving the shop I was entering.  In that moment I was pondering how much I dislike being alone.  The young lady made eye contact with me and smiled a deep and genuine smile.  I smiled back.

As we passed I said, “Thanks for the smile. I needed it.”

She responded back, “Thank you for accepting it.  I needed to give it.”

Having been out among the masses over this busy shopping weekend I have been able to give smiles to people of all ages.  It is one of those practices that keeps my eyes on others.  It keeps me kind and thoughtful.   It is what made me understand that woman’s “I needed to give it.”

It is in the giving of warm kind greetings that we begin relationships, moments, events.  It is in this silent greeting that we can extend needed bridges and create opportunities to serve.  I am thankful for the smiles I receive from others. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

26 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Love

Greetings Dear Reader,

As each year passes it grows clearer to me why the motivation for everything is to be love.  It makes sense that a loving response to any situation creates more inner peace.  It reduces stress.  It keeps my perspective in check.

It is a privilege to love others.  Left to my own choices I would not.  Spending years focusing on being more loving takes me outside of my own wants and desires.  Putting others first and giving to their needs out of love reduces the time I spend brooding over my own situation.  My situation is not bad but there are things that plague me.  The greatest solace I find is in showing love to others.

The act of making love our truth north leads us further along the journey.  It allows us to follow Christ more closely.  It gives us the ground we need to handle the troubles of life.  It defines us more clearly as the people of God. 

It is also the best weapon in our arsenal in fighting the darkness.  It is the light we have when all others fail.  It is power to move through the deepest pain and most dangerous opposition.  I am thankful for love.  I am thankful that I get to show love to others.  I am thankful for the love I am shown.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

25 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Black Friday and Gandalf

Greetings Dear Reader,

As a writer, I cherish the value of being a reader.  One of the authors who continues to influence my life is J.R.R. Tolkien.  This matters today because I will be out there among the Black Friday shoppers briefly.  My goal is always to be kind.  I like to amp that up today.  I want others to encounter kindness and humility amidst the spending and getting.

It is really very easy.  I step outside of the hubbub and remember to see the people.  I remind my heart and mind to see them as real humans with needs far beyond the deals and bargains.  I pray and smile and show deference.  I help if I can. 

The way in which we continue to live a life of gratitude and begin to show the Christmas spirit is to be patient and kind in the small things.  We can be good to clerks and shoppers.  We can smile at children.  We let someone go first.  We can give up a parking space.  We hold back the season of greed by continuing to live in a season of gratitude.

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)



24 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Thanksgiving (With apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Happy Thanksgiving Dear Reader,

A day of Thanksgiving
We have every year
We gather and feast
With folks, far and near

We make turkeys and taters.
We cook gravy and pies,
Cranberries, stuffing,
Piled up to our eyes.

We bake and broil
We sauté and fry
We feast and we feast
Then sit back with a sigh

We wash up the dishes
We store all the scraps
Perhaps some more pie
Some take their naps

With our full bellies
We sit ‘round the fire
We chat with our fellows
And soon retire

To beds that are warm
In homes that are filled
With family and heat
To keep out the chill

But I’ve noticed a change
In the way we do things
It’s the kind of a shift
That some sadness brings

When we should be lounging
With sis, mum, and pop
Instead we go out
To the shops just to shop

We turn a day of Thanksgiving
Into shopping and greed
When we exchange quiet for chaos
There are warnings to heed.

It troubles me much
That we shop and we spend
Be the day of giving thanks
Has its chance to end

Put up a tree
Play and old song
Stay with your family
It won’t be that long

Wait for tomorrow
The shop doors to crash
You needn’t worry
They’ll still take your cash

It is a day of Thanksgiving
So please take some time
To show you grateful
For the good things you find

You could start a list
You could write a new song
Gather your family
And pass thanks along

You could help a neighbor
You could find a stranger in need
You don’t have to stay home
There are poor folks to feed

Whatever you do
Dear Reader know this
On this day of Thanksgiving
You are one of my gifts

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

23 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Rest

Greetings Dear Reader,

The physical malady with which I have been battling was keeping me up through the night.  I do not sleep much to begin with so what sleep I get is vital.  This is not insomnia.  I have never slept much since infancy.  For nearly six weeks I had not slept more than a couple of hours a night.

For the last ten days, however, I have been able to sleep through the night and most of my discomfort is gone.  Thank you Jessica and Sara for your efforts in helping me heal.  I am on the right path and will get back to what passes for normal with me.

This malady has reminded me of the value of real rest.  In the healing process I had to spend some time just lying still.  It game me time to pray and think.  It also reminded me of the value of being still.  It brought back my freedom to do nothing.

The Father insists that we rest for a reason.  It is in the simplicity of stillness that allows the clearance of the noise and business.  I am thankful for rest and the things it can teach me. 

Learn to be Still – The Eagles

It's just another day in paradise
As you stumble to your bed
You'd give anything to silence
Those voices ringing in your head
You thought you could find happiness
Just over that green hill
You thought you would be satisfied
But you never will-
Learn to be still

We are like sheep without a shepherd
We don't know how to be alone
So we wander 'round this desert
And wind up following the wrong gods home
But the flock cries out for another
And they keep answering that bell
And one more starry-eyed messiah
Meets a violent farewell
Learn to be still
Learn to be still

Now the flowers in your garden
They don't smell so sweet
Maybe you've forgotten
The heaven lying at your feet

There are so many contradictions
In all these messages we send
(We keep asking)
How do I get out of here?
Where do I fit in?
Though the world is torn and shaken
Even if your heart is breakin'
It's waiting for you to awaken
And someday you will-
Learn to be still
Learn to be still

You just keep on runnin'
Keep on runnin'

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

22 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Me Eldest Grandson

Greetings Dear Reader,

Today is Orion’s birthday.  I cannot believe he is already six.  His precocious constant analysis of the world keep us all on our toes.  I am often surprised at the depth of his thinking.  He asks questions that one constantly wishes to answer and ones that have no answer. 

He is not just a clever boy.  He is loving and kind.  He has moments of spontaneous generosity that amaze me.   He also feels as deeply as he thinks.  He asked for a phone for his birthday because he wants to be able to talk to his family.  He tells me quietly how much he misses me when he does not see me. 

We talk about words and science.  He loves bad jokes and puns.  We work together at this to make his father and brother groan.   One of my favorite things is to tell him a really bad joke and have him say, “Good one Grandpa.”   Of all the souls I know his is a good one for sure.  Happy Birthday Orion.

Knock, Knock.
Who's there?
Hoo.
Hoo who?
You talk like an owl!

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

21 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Me Youngest Grandson

Greetings Dear Reader,

Recently I had an injury that required that I have a lie down right after work.  My Son and Grandsons had brought me dinner to accommodate my rest.   Bastion rushed to my bed and began suggesting all kinds of things to make me better.   He gently stroked my arm and assured me that he would take care of me.

This child has such sweet compassion.  He shows gentle kindness to everyone.   He is a kind child with energy and passion.  He can already dance.  He loves good music.  He creates adventures every moment.

Almost every time I see him, which is weekly at the minimum, he runs to hug me and says, “Grandpa, I haven’t seen you in so long.”   He is my favorite five four-year-old in the whole world.  I am so very thankful for him and the way in which he changes us all.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

20 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Me Daughter Christmas

Greetings Dear Reader,

When I think of my Daughter I think of eternal perseverance.  She constantly overcomes challenges that would like me cause me to give up.  She works hard at a difficult job.  She is respected for her work there and valued by her employers.  She kind and compassionate to those in need.

When determines to accomplish something, she finds a way.  I watched master a paddle board in an afternoon on a choppy ocean.  I have seen hear tackle new art forms brilliantly.  She is an amazing artist with great creativity.

Her love for others extends to every area of her life.  Watching her grow in her love for Christ is heart healing.   In a season of gratitude I am so thankful for my Daughter.

In Christ Alone – Stuart Townend

In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this solid ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love, what depths of peace
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All in All
Here in the love of Christ I stand

In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave He rose again
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
Till He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

19 November 2016

Second Thoughts – Leonard Cohen

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

In the vainest part of my being I wish to be thought of as a Renaissance Man.  Then I encounter souls like Leonard Cohen and realize that I am light years from someone so talented and versatile.   The man embraced the arts in so many forms and excelled at all of them.

When I learned of his passing last week it took me a couple of days to absorb the loss.   His music alone spanned fifty years and grew steadily more excellent.   That is what I supposed I loved the most about this man was what seemed a constant pursuit of excellence.  

I fear that he like many great artists was not often understood.   As an example is the popularity of his song Hallelujah.  It has been covered by everyone and their cousin.   Almost all of them sing the version popularized by Rufus Wainwright in Shrek.   I take nothing away from this cover.  It is haunting and beautiful and fits the movie well.  It also leaves out the heart of the song.

Leonard Cohen did not shy away from the hard questions of faith.   His original version of the song expresses the same struggle with life but does so in faith.  He added many verses over the years.  There are, I think, eighty in all. 

I will miss this man and his music.   The world is better for his presence in it and poorer for his departure.   I am sure, however, that the Lord of Song is pleased to hear his hallelujahs. 

Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen – Original version from the album Various Positions

Now I’ve heard there was a secret chord
that David played, and it pleased the Lord,
but you don’t really care for music, do you?
It goes like this: the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall, the major lift;
the baffled king composing Hallelujah!
Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

Your faith was strong but you needed proof.
You saw her bathing on the roof;
her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you.
She tied you to a kitchen chair
she broke your throne, and she cut your hair,
and from your lips she drew the Hallelujah!
Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

You say I took the Name in vain;
I don’t even know the name.
But if I did, well, really, what’s it to you?
There’s a blaze of light in every word;
it doesn’t matter which you heard,
the holy, or the broken Hallelujah!
Hallelujah Hallelujah
Hallelujah Hallelujah

I did my best; it wasn’t much.
I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch.
I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you.
And even though it all went wrong,
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
with nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!
Hallelujah, Hallelujah

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

A Season of Gratitude – Me Younger Son

Greetings Dear Reader,

I was blessed to have dinner with my younger Son last night.  He lives in Georgia now so I do not see him as often as I wish.  There is a day that is as clear in my mind and hopefully will always be thus.  My younger son is five.  He is sitting in the back seat of the car and making up his own moves to a song I really like.   His smile is amazing.  His heart is soaring to the music.  His creativity is obvious as well as a predisposition to real rhythm. 

I am so thankful for my Son, Bezel.   He has a capacity to love others that is strong and powerful.  From his youth his intuitive ability to assess character and still accept people is invaluable.  I have life-long friends because he liked some people like Adam from the start. 

He never minds hard work and has some excellent visions for his future.  In a month of expressing my gratitude for things it is a joy to consider how much I love my Sons.  This man has the charm and wit to speak life to any who will have it.  I hope he one finds his wings.  The world would be better for it.

Valley of Dry Bones – Michael Card

Behold a valley filled with bones
Bones on every side
A valley vast, the floor so full
Of bones so very dry

The Lord did ask
Can these bones live?
Might these bones rise once more?
What else was I to say but
You alone can tell, O Lord

A legion now alive
A resurrected army
A living, holy host
Of a people born again

Then prophesy, O son of man
Cry out to this dead hoard
And when they come to life again
They'll know I am the Lord

And as I spoke what I was told
There came a rattling sound
As bone to bone they formed a mass
Of bodies on the ground

Your dead will come alive
Their graves will lie abandoned
And all those dwelling in the dust
Will wake and shout for joy

And then I called upon the winds
Upon these slain to breathe
At once they stood upon their feet
A mighty, vast army

A legion now alive
A resurrected army
A living, holy host
Of a people born again

Your dead will come alive
Their grave will lie abandoned
And all those dwelling in the dust
Will wake and shout for joy

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

18 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – My Eldest Son

Greetings Dear Reader,

I was privileged to have dinner with my eldest Son last evening.   He is a good man and a good father.   He has deep compassion and strong convictions.  I do not get to have the amount of leisure time I would with him but when it is available I find great joy in it.

When I see him interact with others I learn from him.  Even his vocation is one of caring for people in need.   His aunt refers to him as “the best of all of us.” I am so very thankful for him.

I pray that he leans to see the beauty in his spirit.  I hope that he finds the joy he deserves in life.  More than anything I wish for him to know how deeply he is loved.

The Sunrise of Your Smile – Michael Card

Reject the worldly lie that says,
That life lies always up ahead,
Let power go before control
Becomes a crust around your soul,
Escape the hunger to possess,
And soul-diminishing success,
This world is full of narrow lives,
I pray by grace your smile survives.

For I would wander weary miles,
Would welcome ridicule, my child,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile,
To see the light behind your eyes,
The happy thought that makes you fly,
Yes, I would wander weary miles,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile.

Now close your eyes so you can see,
Your own unfinished memories,
Now open them, for time is brief,
And you'll be blessed beyond belief,
Now glance above you at the sky,
There's beauty there to blind the eye,
I ask all this then wait awhile,
To see the dawning of you smile

I would wander weary miles,
Would welcome ridicule, my child,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile,
To see the light behind your eyes,
The happy thought that makes you fly,
Yes, I would wander weary miles,
To simply see the sunrise of your smile.

For I would wander weary miles,
I would wander weary miles
If I could see the sunrise of your smile.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

17 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Civil Servants

Greetings Dear Reader,

Yesterday on my way to a meeting I saw a driver yelling at a Parking Enforcement Officer.  It has been oddly warm for November so my window was down.  I heard the driver yell, “I was only over by half an hour.  You did not have to write me a ticket.”  This was followed by a string of expletives which I would not use on anyone. 

I wonder how often we turn our anger at civil servants when the error is ours?   As I drove by I prayed for the Parking Officer.  He was doing his thankless and irritating job.  I am thankful that there are rules for parking and that they are enforced.  Were they not parking downtown would be more of a nightmare.

I am also thankful for those who work in civil service as police officers, firefighters, and paramedics.    My Brother Ian is a paramedic.  I have dear friends who work in these professions.  I hear so many stories regarding the disrespect and abuse they take just for serving us. 

I am thankful that we live in a society where for the most part those who do this work are good people serving the greater good.  It takes little effort to say thank you and show gratitude when we encounter them.  Today my wish is that we all take a moment to pray for them, appreciate them, and thank them Dear Reader.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

16 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Food

Greetings Dear Reader,

I love to cook, serve, and eat good food.  I live in a town where variety is as plenteous as one could wish.  Almost every world cosine is available.  I also have a very full larder.  I am blessed with the ability to cook and can easily prepare what I need daily.

In being thankful for food I cannot in good conscience neglect the problem of hunger.   It troubles me greatly that we do not coordinate better to end hunger in our communities.  We could.  Some of our laws make it difficult.  The problem is sometimes ignored.   We often do not realize how many people are hungry.

As we move toward a holiday that we celebrate with an abundance of food I am thankful for what I have.  I also will do things to mitigate hunger where I can.  My wish would be that everyone who can help would.   I think so many common ills would dissipate were we to do this.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

15 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Giving

Greetings Dear Reader,

If this sounds odd to you, that I am thankful for giving, then I will try to explain.   I find great joy in treating others well.  I gain great peace from knowing I have helped others.   I see the needs of others clearly at times and an privileged with I can help. 

Yesterday I encountered my first Salvation Army Bell Ringer.   Gratitude for the thousands of people who will donate time and effort to standing by a kettle and ringing a bell rose up in me.  This organization does so much good. 

So many other aspects of giving are satisfying.   Part of giving is managing expectations.  I must assure that I do not take this for granted.  As a Christ follower, I am obligated to look for opportunities to be generous and kind.   I am required to give.  I am entrusted with the care of others.

If I am not giving to the needs of others then I am not fulling my obligation.   If I view as only an obligation then I am not getting the point.   It is supposed to be joyful for me to give.  It is supposed to come from the abundance of my love for the Father and for people.  

It is out of this that proceeds my desire to give.  It is out of wanting to share goodness and kindness with others that I express my gratitude to be allowed to give.  In a world where getting is a primary value those who give from the heart will stand out.  I am thankful for the providence and privilege. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

(͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

14 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Medical Care

Greetings Dear Reader,

As the fervor over the politics shifts from counter-punching to riots and blame-storming I wonder what will happen with healthcare in country.   I do not think that the current solution is the solicitor.  I do think that we should have a solution. 

My work provides me with healthcare.  It troubles me greatly that anyone thinks that a universal healthcare solution is a bad idea.  There are countries where it works.  There is a genuine need.  To speak against it is to lack compassion.

This does not mean that I am against also reforming the current medial system in our country.  It is out of control and things are too expensive.   Were the fat to be cut away there might be enough surplus to provide for the needs of others.  

Today, however, I am thankful for the medical care that I have and want it for everyone.   I cannot say that I follow Christ and that I want less for anyone.   I cannot claim to love others and deny them healthcare.   Their needs are more important than my excess.   Their lives are more sacred than my toys and games.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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13 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Coffee

Greetings Dear Reader,

In the vast sea of things for which I am thankful coffee is near the center.  I used to consume much more than necessary or healthy.  Coffee and I have since gained a better respect for each other. 

It is still so rich to me; that first sip in the morning.  Since I have obtained a respectful relationship with coffee I can taste, feel, and enjoy that first moment.   It evokes so much in me.

I remember Saturday morning breakfasts with my Grandfather and him letting me have coffee milk (a coffee cup filled with milk and a splash of coffee).   That first sip in the morning can transport me back to that time.  It sometimes calls to mind afternoon coffee with former colleagues. 

I no longer make coffee my priority but I am still very thankful for it. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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12 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Technology

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I forget how much the world has changed relative to technology.  In 1973 my parents paid $80 for a calculator that would add, subtract, multiply, and divide.  It also would retain a single number in memory for later inclusion in a problem.  They bought this because it was required for my schooling.   It was the size of a smart phone and twice as thick.  It used four AA batteries and weighted about ninety pounds.

Today my smart phone has a world class graphing calculator app that was free.  It bugs me once a month to upgrade to even more features that I do not understand.  I use this virtual calculator almost daily for figuring things on the go. 

In 1985 I got my first PC.  It had 16k of RAM and two floppy drives.  Today I write this on a machine running an Intel Core i7 with 36 gigs of RAM and 2 internal and 30 attached terabytes of storage.  My aforementioned smart phone has 2 million times the storage that my first PC had.  Yes I used the aforementioned free calculator too calculate the difference.

I have access to the knowledgebase of the world through an internet that is fast, reliable, and powerful.   I can communicate with people all over the globe with a few keystrokes.  I am taught, entertained, and given great convince because of technology.

I must also remember that with great power comes great responsibility.  I am accountable for all that is available to me and how I use it.  I am thankful for the tools and convenience of technology.   I cannot imagine doing all of this with stone knives and bearskins. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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11 November 2016

Second Thoughts – On Burning Flags - Freedom Never Cries

Greetings Dear Reader,

Sometimes I will end the day with thoughts that are important to get out.  Usually I just write them and put them in my journal folder.  I have chosen that on occasion I will share them with you Dear Reader.

I get that there are people unhappy with the election results from Tuesday.  I understand that we have waned in our capacity as a society to be “good losers”.  I even understand that on both sides of the political spectrum there are extremes.  I am, however, ashamed of the behavior of some of those “protesting” the outcome of the election.

I did not want this man to be president.  I cannot support his views on some things.  That, however, is not a good reason to be violent, harsh, or even a poor loser.  I realize there is fear over what may happen.  I also realize that acting out of fear is rarely wise.  It broke my heart to hear my friend Penny lament what she was seeing.   It gave me tears to think of the veterans who have lost so much to protect what the United States stands for at its foundation.

The Washing Post reported that students at American University burned the American Flag in protest of the result of our democratic process.   Is there anyone out there who sees how useless and dishonorable this is.  That flag covers so many things.  It is the sacred symbol of honor draped over the casket of every solider that dies protecting your freedom to burn it.  It is the symbol of a land that does stand for freedom and liberty. 

We may have issues.  We do have things to fix.   Hatred and anger on either side will not heal anything.  We could band together and demand that all the problems in the bureaucracy of government be solved.   We could decide to be good to each other no matter what our politics or social views. 

Pulling a man out of his car and beating him because he voted for someone dishonors everything we believe about freedom.  Disrespecting anyone for politics is foolishness.  We could spend our energy working for the needs of those around us.  We could fight the fear and potential danger by remembering that the Government serves us and hold it accountable to do so. 

Instead I see people acting as if they are entitled to bad behavior because they are afraid or angry.  If we are to rise above this turmoil, we need to be good to each other.  Tolerance needs to be an action of grace and kindness and not a political viewpoint.  Our president, no matter who he is, would have to listen to the people were they to unite and fight for the things with matter instead of fighting each other. 

When we burn our own flag we harm our society.  We insult the men and women who give their lives to defend it.  It is legal because we have laws that allow real freedom.  We can protest and even act like petulant children because we are a free society.  Imagine in a true fascist state the consequences of protesting an election.  All things are lawful but all things are not expedient.  

Freedom Never Cries – Five for Fighting

I took a flag to a pawn shop
For a broken guitar
I took a flag to a pawn shop
How much is that guitar
I took a flag to a pawn shop
I got me that guitar
What's a flag in a pawn shop to me?
I saw a man on the TV
In a mask with a gun
A man on the TV
He had a ten year old son
I saw a man on the TV
His son had a gun
And he says that he's coming for me

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
Until my baby hit the floor
I only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries

I wrote a song for a dead man
To settle my soul
A song for a dead man
And now I'll never grow old
I wrote a song for a dead man
Now I'm out in the cold
What's a song to a dead man to me?

I never loved the soldier until there was a war
Or thought about tomorrow
Until my baby hit the floor
I only talk to God when somebody's about to die
I never cherished freedom
Freedom never cries

You can cry for her
Die for her
Lay down your life for her
Kiss and wave goodbye to her
Anything at all
You can cry for her
Die for her
Make up your mind to her
Anything at all, oh

There's a baby on the doorstep
Wailing away
There's a baby on the doorstep
Longing for the day
There's a baby on the doorstep
Who'd give his life to take
A flag to a pawn shop
A flag to a pawn shop
May he forget why he is crying some day

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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A Season of Gratitude - Veterans

Greetings Dear Reader,

Whether it is friends like James, Mark, or Emily or it a complete stranger I owe a debt of gratitude that I cannot pay.   So many people have offered to give all so that I could live in a free society.  So many people who came home from service are walking wounded.

It hurts me when fellow citizens neglect this debt.  It saddens me when they choose expressing their feelings by burning the flag or hating our country.  I agree that freedom of expression is vital to any free society.  I also think that one must consider the consequences of how one uses that expression.

We do not do enough for our military veterans.  We do not honor them enough.  We do not care for them enough.  We do not live responsibly enough with the freedom they provide.  These common men and women leave behind family and home to secure family and home for all of us. 

In this season of gratitude I wish to express a deep thank you to all who have put it all at risk so that I am free.  I honor you and I respect you.  It is my intent to live a life worthy of the price so many have paid.  Thank you is not enough.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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10 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Our Government

Greetings Dear Reader,

It is obvious that those who govern us have problems.  It is clear that they are not as much the selfless servants that they should be.  We do not get representation of our needs.  There is too much attention to money and not enough to real social issues.

With all of that I am still thankful for the government we have.   It is composed of humans who choose to serve in leading our nation.  I am required to pray for them.  I am expected to respect them even when they act disrespectfully.

The election season was filled with name calling, slander, and hatred.  We are better than that.  We are able to do better than that.  We must work together to assure that we demand the best of our leadership.   In doing that we must also be thankful that we have people willing to do what seems a thankless job.

It is vital that I remain prayerfully thankful for those who serve at every level of government.   Since it is the Father who raises up leaders and deposes them I can pray for them knowing that God will have his way.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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09 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude – Sovereignty

Greetings Dear Reader,

My Son, Maxim worked hard this political season for the results he wanted.  My Brother worked hard for the outcome he desired and is disappointed.   I can see my friends both weeping and celebrating on social media.

Today I am thankful that even though we cast our votes it is God who appoints leaders.  It is God who takes them down.  People who share my faith know this.  I hope that today they remember it and live it.

Those who cheer the outcome must do so with humility, kindness, and grace.  Those who mourn must do so believing that the Father knows what he is doing.  I read how devastated my friend Mary was.   I prayed for her.  I saw how hurt my friend Kelly is.  I offer my thoughts to comfort her.

You see it not who is in the White House that matters.  It is what we do in response to it.  I do not blame or condemn anyone.  I wrote weeks ago that I thought neither candidate was fit to represent us.  I am saddened that we have not grown beyond our differences to be a people who care for the needs of others over our own agendas.

I remind all of my friends of this, “… if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, search for me, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear their prayer from heaven, forgive their sins, and heal their country.”

Today I am thankful for the truth that the Father has all things in hand.   He will use this and all things that unfold to bring things back to good.  Be good to each other Dear Reader.  Be kind and tenderhearted. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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08 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Voting

Greetings Dear Reader,

There are so many reasons to be thankful for the privilege of voting.  The primary one for me is that men and women have given their lives so that I can have that honor.  It is also this that contributes to my sense of duty surrounding elections.

I do not think that one has to have elected officials to have a free society.  I do, however, think that it is easier to do so.  I also feel that that we do not cherish this freedom enough.  We do not see its value.  We do not take responsibility for it and are surprised when our neglect leads to abuse.

Even though I am disappointed in the chosen candidates by the primary parties I will vote today.  I will vote my faith and conscience as best I can.   I am thankful for the process and hope that the outcome awakens people to the true state of our nation. 

We need to remember to be a nation of duty and honor.  We need to demand integrity from our leaders.  If we have poor leadership, it is because we have elected them.  So today I will show my gratitude by voting. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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07 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Work

Greetings Dear Reader,

Even though I am working to only work as a writer, I am blessed to work a “day” job that I love.  On a Monday morning, I am pleased to go to work and more so pleased to write about not being someone who dreads Monday.

I hear it often at work.  Cordial greetings are met with complaints about it being Monday.  I wish it were a world where everyone’s work was something to which they looked forward.  I must say that my stress is less than when I worked a job I did not love.  I must wonder why people remain in work that they hate.

It is a heart filled with gratitude that moves me to work where I do.  It is knowing that my work makes a difference in the lives of others.  It is a privilege to have coworkers that I like and respect. 

My supervisor and her supervisor are both people who care about us.  They balance getting the work done with seeing the needs and lives of those over whom they have responsibility.  I respect and admire them both more than I get to show.

In this season of gratitude, I must show so much for the thing that consumes so much of my time.   If I do not feel thankful for it then I must examine my own heart and if necessary, my choices in working there.  Thankfully I feel great gratitude for the to which I will give part of my life today.  It is part of my joy to do so.

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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06 November 2016

A Season of Gratitude - Friends

Greetings Dear Reader,

A few times in my life I have had that one close friend; a confidant with whom I shared many adventures.  It is interesting that I am no longer close to any of them.  I have recently reconnected with my dearest friend from my youth, Glenn.  We have yet to have the long conversation that we both crave but it will come when the time is right.

I like people in general.  My Grandfather used to that the only friends I did not have are the people I have not yet met.  My Daughter maintains that I already know every third person.  I want the former to be true but find the latter an exaggeration.  

It is true that I hold everyone in positive regard as long as they will allow it.  I still try to think well of even those whose actions harm others.   The call to love everyone is clear.  If I do not do this I am too easily disposed to hatred and unkindness.  The diversity of my friends helps me mateine a proper perspective.

I think of what the world would be if we all started with positive regard for everyone.  The world could be a place where we cared for each other.  I realize this is idealistic but that is my nature.  That is what Christ wishes for us so it is not an impossibility.

I am so very thankful for the friends that I have.  They all fit into my life in ways that encourage me in my journey.  I hope that I am also of service to them. 

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”

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05 November 2016

The Big Blue Ball

Greetings Dear Reader,

I offer for your consideration a short story that makes the world a little less significant and much more important.  Enjoy.

Big Blue Ball

By Aramis Thorn
November 4, 2016

In control station seventeen on Rigel Six sit two hundred thousand observers.  They are the
only inhabitants of the desert plant.  Most of them sent from the nearby systems to serve their obligatory four years as observers and controllers.  Observer 87153 is overdue for his break.  Staring at the six screens attached to his console for an entire shift always gives him a headache.  Today it arrived just one third of the way through.  8108 considers asking for early relief.  Then he considers that Controller 1020 is assigned to his section.   He knows that Controller 1020 is an ass.  He knows that his request will be denied and still counted against him.
87153 returns his attention to his screens.  As is always the case his assignments are mundane, boring, and inactive.  He scans the six screens for anything odd, strange, or even slightly irregular.  Of the six systems, he observes five of them are barren of any intelligent life.  He only watches them in case one of the exploring species ventures there. 
Only one of the planets in the sixth system under 87153’s care has sentient life. In terms of sentience they are very low on the gamut.   The species barely gets off their planet.  They are not willing to risk enough to truly get out into space.  They have no idea how many times the Observers had prevented other species from taking their backwater system to plunder it for its many valuable assets. 

A couple of centuries ago the Controllers had decided that the species was not worth persevering.  They were developing too slowly and seemed too uncivilized to invest any further assets in their survival.  The vote had been taken within the rules set by THE COMPOSER.  He allowed for the Controllers to withdraw protection from systems that proved to be destroying themselves.  The final session to authorize withdrawal convened.
87153 had just been assigned to the system.  He took up observation after the vote but before the final session.  As a matter of protocol, he was to deliver a final observer’s report to be filed with the authorization.  Everything in the report agreed that the species on Blue Ball 8844 was dangerous, depraved, and deplorable.  THE COMPOSER had even visited the planet in an attempt to compose a redemption song for them.  None of the Controllers understood why they had not been allowed to withdraw when the species tried to silence him.
The final report made it clear that the species had little to offer the One Song.  Their notes were more sour that harmonious.  Their songs rarely held out the values of THE COMPOSER.  They were at war with each other.  They enslaved each other.  They were unworthy of the effort needed to sustain their protection.  All 835 pages of 87153’s report bore out the truth that hope for this species was ill placed. 
THE COMPOSER always attends the final decision.  He rarely intervenes.  He rarely overrules.   As the Controllers take their seats each thumb through his or her copy of the report.  There is a long section on the industrial growth of the planet.  Inventions abound along with some creative growth.  None of it, however, mitigates their violence and greed.  The final approval is a formality. 
Each Controller is polled and votes for withdrawal.  The lead Controller is about to pronounce when THE COMPOSER gently clears his throat, “What about page 233 in the creations section?  Let us have a look at item 143.”
The lead Controller quickly turns to the page.  He reads the few paragraphs written by 87153 under the heading “Baseball”.   Looking up respectfully but confused he asks THE CONTROLLER, “What is this?  It seems to only be a game.  It seems to only be played by ruffian and ne’re-do-wells.  It was invented as a past time for soldiers during war.  Respectfully, I do not see its value.”
THE COMPOSER smiles.  “The game is one of hope.  It is non-violent competition.  It is not governed by a clock.  The game constantly moves forward the idea of redemption.  In the midst of all their chaos they have found a way to learn that there is hope in every moment.  Eventually they will translate the game to life if we give them the chance.”
He turns to 87153, “What do you think Hank?”  THE COMPOSER always uses names.  He knows them all and values every observer.  “What are your observations about baseball?”
87153 clears his throat.  “I think that there is always hope.  I agree that this game holds it out to everyone.  Children dream of playing this game.  They make heroes of the participants.  They sell sugary ruminants with images of the participants.  They even include the entire planet in their final competition of the year.  They are a species worth watching.”
The lead Controller stands to speak but THE COMPOSER stays him with the lifting of his scarred right hand.  “Everything we do is to move forward hope and love.   This ‘game’ evokes those things in war hardened men.   This pastime is always about the present moment and finding the truth in it.  This hope is reason enough to protect this world.  This is well-observed Hank.”
The lead Controller speaks after THE COMPOSER lowers his hand.  “We have voted.  You have the power and authority to override it.  We will do as you wish.  How shall we measure their progress?”
THE COMPOSER turns to 87153, “We will allow Hank to be the umpire.  Tell us what you like about these beings and how you would measure their time.”

Hank revives from his reverie as the red beacon flashes on the Sol system screen.  He zooms
in on the Northern Hemisphere where autumn chills the air.  He further scrolls in on the middle of the American continent to an arena in Cleveland.  The final match of the baseball championship is in its final moments.  The team he chose as the benchmark is attempting to win the side, the match, and the series.  A single moment of hope blossoms as one player flicks the rawhide sphere to another.  The runner is called out.
The team he favors; the one named for the constellation Ursa Minor.  He chose them because of the hope found in the world through the Pole Star.  He knew THE COMPOSER would approve.  He knew that they would eventually win again.

He thumbs the call button on his console.  “I need a message sent to the council.  After 108 years the Cubs have won again.  It is time to reassess the planet.”

Wishing you joy in the journey,

Aramis Thorn
Mat 13:52 So Jesus said to them, "That is why every writer who has become a disciple of Christ’s rule of the universe is like a home owner. He liberally hands out new and old things from his great treasure store.”
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