October 7, 2016

Hey all.  I am so sorry I haven’t written in a while.  I was sitting here thinking of the blog and how I haven’t written in months.  I apologize.  I will try to write more often.  This will be long because I have a lot to say.  Let’s start with class. I am in my 3rd and final semesters of Horticulture.  It has been a great year of class.  I have learned a lot and met a lot of great people.  This semester has been a little uneventful.  We do have a successful fall crop right now.  We have planted Arugula, Broccoli, Carrots, Spinach, Turnip Greens, Swiss Chard, Radishes, Zucchini, Onions, Lettuce and beets.  The beets and Zucchini didn’t do too well.  The Carrots, Turnip Greens, Arugula and Radishes have done really well.  My Aloe isn’t doing great inside the greenhouse, but it isn’t terrible.  I divided some baby Aloe and it is struggling from shock right now, but I think it will bounce back.  My orange trees look great.  That is about all that is going on in class right now.

The last day and graduation are on December 9th.  Then I might become a library worker while I am waiting to be shipped out to Medium Custody. I am excited to be going to Medium Custody.  I am also a little nervous.  My first choice of prison is Harnett Correctional.  They have a lot of classes there.  They have Barber School, Welding, Plumbing, Electrical, AC/HVAC, Small Engine Repair, Masonry, and Carpentry.  They also have a sex offender program that I would like to go through.  Once you go through it, you can get put in to be a peer counselor.  Seeing that I want to be a Counselor when I get out, I would love the experience.  My second choice is Warren, which I have heard is primarily Gang members.  They have a Travel & Tourism class I am interested in taking.  They also have part-time CDL classes too.  I am thinking of Lumberton.  They have some classes I am interested in as well.  However, I could be shipped to whatever prison has a bed.  My case manager will put in for me to go to my Top 3 choices, but it is not guaranteed.  So please keep me in your prayers for that.  I will be shipped out any time between January and March 2017.  I briefly mentioned above that I would like to be a counselor when I get out.  I am checking into correspondence courses to get my Master’s Degree in counseling while I am in here. I would like to get my PhD when I get out.  I will be 46 when I get out.  I still have time.  I would like to help felons, ex-cons and sex offenders.  Oh yea, also gang members. I would like to have a ministry for sex offenders to help them transition into society when they are released from prison.

I have met a lot of sex offenders who don’t have anywhere to go when they get out.  No family or friends.  They can’t stay in halfway houses.  At least in NC, there are no halfway houses that take sex offenders.  They can’t get Section 8 housing either.  So they need help.  It is also hard for them to get jobs.  That is the goal.  I will keep you updated.  Today, I read in my book, “And Jesus Said” by William Barclay, about servant hood and helping people.  He talks about how we should help people.  He uses the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.  He talks about how and why the rich man was sent to Hell.  It is simple.  The rich man knew Lazarus was there, but he didn’t do anything to help him.  That was his sin.  As Christians, I have preached this before, we need to not just have pity, but do something about it.  The author talks about how the littlest thing is all we need to do.  Flash someone a smile, listen to them, give them a drink, invite them for dinner, have lunch with a homeless person, send someone a card, pray with someone.  I could go on and on!  Be creative!

He talks about how it’s our responsibility to make others’ lives easier and happier.  The saying “do unto others as you would have them do to you” goes a long way.  Think about that.  Let’s look at the negative form of that law.   “Don’t do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”  I challenge you to think about these two phrases, meditate on them.  I know that I myself have a lot of work to do in this area as well.  We can’t have a life of love without God’s help.  Put your trust in him always.  I love you all!

Love,
Eddie

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Imagination – August 23, 2015

Most currently I have been reading a book called “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster.  I was meeting with the head chaplain two weeks ago and we were talking about spiritual growth, other religions, careers and whatever else that we felt led to talk about.  It was a wonderful meeting as usual.  He recommended me to read “The Shack”, which the experience could produce many wonderful blogs.

However, he had mentioned to me the “Celebration of Discipline” was his favorite spiritual growth book of all time.  As I am reading it, I understand why.  The author talks about living a disciplined Christian life and the different disciplines, that us Christians should make a part of our daily lives.  Eventually these disciplines will become a natural part of you and eventually will be as easy as breathing.  Now he is not talking about laws or rules.  He is talking about how to walk intimately and grow with God.  How to build your relationship with God.  Let him control your life.

So far I have read the disciplines of Meditation, Prayer and Fasting.  This is not a book you speed through.  This is a book that you must take your time and start to practice these disciplines. I am going to talk about the Discipline of Prayer.

I was lying here, listening to Christian music and it hit me.  Before I started listening to music I prayed.  I thought about something my sister, Sam, asked me while she was down here visiting.  I had asked about her and her boyfriend’s best friend, who is going through a difficult situation.  Afterwards I said, “I will continue to pray for him.”  And my sister said, “How do you remember what all to pray for?”  And I said, “I just say a general prayer for all of the family and friends.  If I named everyone individually and prayed for them then I would be praying for a long time.”  At the time I didn’t think anything of it, other than well, God knows their needs and I don’t have to go into detail or anything.

As I was reading Foster’s book, I realized this was not cool.  Foster talks about how we need to use our imagination when we pray.  He goes on to use an example.  When he was at the hospital with a very sick infant, and the family had a 4 year old son who was very sad about his baby sister.  She was very ill!  So he asked the little boy to pray with him.  Before the prayed, Foster told the boy to imagine that Jesus was sitting on the chair in the corner and when we put our hands on your baby sister, Jesus is going to walk over and lay his hands on ours and we are going to ask for your baby sister to be healed, feel better.  The little boy said, “ok.”  They both imagined this happening and they prayed while imagining Jesus was right beside them with his hands on theirs.

The next day, the family called Foster, their pastor, and the baby was healed.  They used their imagination and believed with all their heart that Jesus was present with them.  He goes on in the book and says that we should pray for people’s situations the same way, spend time on their prayer request.  All day we should be praying for people; not just one day but every day.

It made me think to myself, “Are God and other people’s souls worth 3 minutes of my time, or are they worth more than that?”  I have decided that God and people’s souls, prayer requests, are worth ALL of my time.  I believe that if we don’t give God our whole heart and love people more than ourselves, what good are our prayers in the end?  I encourage you to spend more time praying and believing that your prayers will be answered.