Annie Kirkwood, Author
Rte 1 Box 100
Bunch, OK 74931-9705
April/May 2000 ó Issue #51
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This is Annie's section
I feel that I am in the ebbónot always a fun place to be but one that is so much a part of life on earth. Many years ago the Brotherhood told us that all things on earth flow just like the tides, in an ebb and flow pattern.
The ebb is different from the void, which is even more uncomfortable, and for me can last longer. In the ebb everything seems to be moving as slow as molasses. When I look at my spiritual development it seems that nothing much is happening. Emotionally I feel like Iím not feeling. Mentally it feels like I stopped thinking. But the inner messages still come through. I just donít seem to have the wonder, the awe that is so exciting.
Iíve been hearing a little song, in my mind, that my friend Anita led us in at the second "Earth Festival" (1996) during an unscheduled break. She tells me that John Denver sang it on a childrenís tape he made. The words are something like this. "It is within each of us to be wise. Look within. Open up both your eyes. You can do anything without even knowing how. It is within each of us. Here and now." I hope the words are correct. If not, this is the message Iím getting.
I forget that I donít have to know how. Before the second Saturday of the month, when I host a day of prayer and meditation, I pray for guidance on what to do and how to do it. It feels that these days are for healing, but I donít know how or what to do. So far weíve talked about healing and other subjects, meditated and prayed. Then we enjoy an evening meal and socialize and relax. Itís healing in a way, but not my idea of healing. So I pray and ask for more guidance. But itís always with the nagging thought that I donít know what Iím doing.
When I look back at this whole journey with my spiritual awakening, the visits from Mother Mary, and Her request to meóI didnít know what I was doing then. I was good at following directions. Iíve been reminding God that Iím not getting the message if He is sending it, because I donít know what to do or how to do it. Maybe the song is God telling me I donít have to know how. Once again Iím reminded to look within, where wisdom and knowledge are. All we have to do is look within. So simple, but not always easy.
I think itís a matter of trust. Do I trust Godóto care for me, to be there when I need Him, to show me the way, to be all things for me? My first reaction to this question is, of course I do! But if I trustóthen why all the questioning and fretfulness? Maybe I must trust myself first. Do I trust myself, or maybe the question is, CAN I trust myself? Sometimes I think I can, and at other times it seems that I just donít.
The words of the song keep repeating themselves to me, "You can do anything without even knowing how." And I have seen such a beautiful example of someone who actually lives these lines. She is the sister of my good friend, Anita. For some time now she has been listening to her inner guidance and simply following the instructions. She began to create sculptures and is now painting on canvas. The work is beautiful, inspiring, and mind provoking. When I think of doing anything without even knowing how, she inspires me.
Iíve often asked why I need to learn old lessons over and over. Iím told that Iím learning it on different levels. Donít you often know something in your mind but havenít learned it yet in your heart? Iím a little slow and so it takes me a while to learn a lesson. Then Iím easily bored, and so they give me a break in the repeated lessons. Sometimes itís so long that I forget Iíve already learned this once. And so itís like learning once again for the first time. So here goes the lesson on trust once again, and I hope I get it this time.
I feel itís giving myself permission to trust myself. In my past Iíve not been good at taking care of me. For years I was gullible and didnít try to use logic, reason, or any thinking process to make choices. I just went along never really making a choice, but being led through indecision. What Iíve learned through therapy is that the trust, that should have been there for me as a child, was not. So I didnít learn how to trust and now am learning and relearning that I can trust me.
I still feel like we are in the ebb. Byron and I are in a deep ebb in some areas of our lives. But the good thing about being in the ebb is that soon we will be back into the flow again. One other thing that has come through for me that you may relate toósince the first of the year we have been in a financial ebb. I asked why is this happening when I firmly believe that God is my Source. The answer was that I still hold a belief in good and evil.
When I first began to seek, I asked to know Godís Truth. I wanted to know what was really, really true, even if it was different than the commonly held beliefs. I remembered that once people believed the Earth was flat, but God knew it was round. He simply waited for us to find out the real truth. What Mother Mary has taught me is that in Godís Realm and Truth there is no evil. God is not fighting some evil spirit for our souls. He is simply waiting for us to find out the truth that all the evil in the world is our own creation.
So how does this affect our finances? It seems that part of the belief in good and evil is the belief in feast or famine. So as long as I believe in feast or famine, I will experience these events in my life. Now Iím affirming that the real truth is that in God there is only goodness, love, health, and abundance. I can experience this when I change my beliefs. So in light of these lessons I am now practicingóI am confident that I will experience the flow again, learn to trust myself, and experience abundance everyday. I donít have to know how. All I have to do is look inside just as the song says. Itís the same lesson over and over until I get it. Jesus taught us this when he said, "Itís the Father within who does the work." All I have to do is get my personality and ego out of the way and allow Him to work through me. Then I can do anything, even if I donít know how. Something to think about isnít it? I hope you all are doing well. It is my prayer that you have only Godís goodness in your lives every day. Until next time, I remain your friend,
This is Mother Mary's section
My Dear Children,
It is with great joy that I come to you once again at this time of renewal. This is the time to celebrate life and the continuation of life. When you look at Jesusí death, concentrate on his resurrection. For in his resurrection is the story of life. Death is simply a part of the on-going saga of life. Life is beautiful, just the simple act of living is beautiful.
While you are on earth, to live is to keep body and soul together. But I would have you do more than this. I request that you keep your concentration on keeping your body and soul infused with your spirit. It is the spirit of God that animates you. He is your life force, He is the power that gives you life. Many times people lose their spirit in life. Then they just exist. They lose the joy in life. To lose your spirit is to lose your enthusiasm for life. When you lose your spirit you also lose your zest for life and the activities in your life.
This is a time of renewal in nature and it can be the time for restoring your spiritís connection to your soul and your body. You can resurrect your spiritís life force. You can rehabilitate your life through your mind and heart. It takes both the mind and the heart to accomplish the rehabilitation. First you make the decision to rehabilitate your life. Then your desire for a better life connects decision and desire to bring you to accomplishment. This is true for all kinds of rehabilitation. You can rehabilitate your mind by cleansing it from depleting thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. In this way you can rehabilitate your heart from depleting and spirit-robbing emotions.
When you rehabilitate and renew your life in this way, you are truly using the power of resurrection to restore your life force. The power of resurrection is demonstrated at this time of year through nature. That which had been dormant and looked dead is revitalized; it comes to life and not only comes to life but blooms in a profusion of innate beauty. When you go through a period of dormancy, and you feel nothing is happening, just realize that you are in this type of period. In this period of inner rest you may feel that you are not progressing. It is a time for you to allow yourself to catch up on all levels. It is a time to put into practice that which you are learning. It is a time of trusting that you are still very much alive, and that life continues.
The resurrection periods in your life are wonderful. You do not need to await a special season. You can resurrect any part of your life at any time. To resurrect is to refresh, to re-energize and to rebuild. God is willing and able to help you do this. He will not do it for you, but He will work with you and through you to reestablish a strong inner connection to Him. When you have more of God in your life, you have more vital, energizing, original life force flowing through you. In all things allow God to help you.
If you have an addiction, let God help you set it aside. It is not always an easy thing to do. With Godís power and help you can let any addiction go. If you have a contentious nature and find that you are more willing to see the wickedness in people or situations, be restored through Godís love. If you have a dour and downhearted outlook on life, be revived through Godís joy. If you find that you are filled with guilt and shame, be regenerated through Godís forgiving and loving nature. If you are overcome with fears and terrors, be rejuvenated through Godís understanding and strength.
In God you will find all goodness. Not one of His attributes is denied you. When you think you canít cope and need courage, He is with you. When you feel fearful and weak, His strength is there. When you are lonely and despairing, His love surrounds you. When you are angry and overcome with dark emotions, Godís peace and love are with you. When you feel guilty and ashamed, Godís forgiveness is true. When you are fretful and filled with resentments, Godís serenity enfolds you. When you feel disconnected from life, His presence hugs you. When you grieve, God comforts you. When you are filled with sadness and confusion, He will sustain you with His love. In every condition God is with you. In every circumstance and situation God will infuse you with His goodness.
God will never abandon you or neglect you. But He will not impose His will upon you, for to do so would negate His gift of freedom of choice. He simply waits for you to seek Him. He waits for you to ask, that is why Jesus was so sure that God would be with you that he said, "Ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened." If you will look closely, you will see that he didnít say it may or it could be; Jesus was so certain and trusting that he didnít equivocate or put any conditions on this promise. God is that infallible, that dependable, and that trustworthy. God will not fail you, my children. He loves each of you too much.
To resurrect your life, put more spirit into your life. Resurrect your prayer and meditation time. Resurrect your faith in God. You can transform your life through the power of resurrection. But only you can do this. It requires that you make the decision and the deep commitment to yourself and to God. You will need to be open and honest with yourself. But I have full faith in the goodness of God and in the ability of people to transform and to renew. I have full faith in the trustworthiness of God to help you in every way, as long as you make the effort to do your part.
Enjoy this season and let it speak to your soul. Spring and the blossoming forth of nature will tell you that life is eternal. That although things change, it also stays the same. That life will not be denied its time of renewal. That life can be restored and that you can rehabilitate any part of your life. Be quiet and let the power of the resurrection take place in you. Renew your prayers with more dedication. Refresh your meditation with more faithfulness. Revitalize your heart through forgiveness. Re-energize your body with your good thoughts. Reorganize your mind through a belief in Godís love. You are eternal, spiritual beings. You are children of a benevolent Creator. Let this soothe your soul.
Mary, Mother of Jesus
This is Byron's section
Volunteer Fire FighterSounding like an introduction at an AA meeting I hear myself say, "Hi, Iím Byron and Iím a volunteer fire fighter." The imaginary group in unison says, "Hello Byron ... tell us why youíre here and what a volunteer fire fighter does."
Why am I here? Well like the old joke that goes, when they said "shut-up," I thought they said, "stand up."
While buying our home here in Northeastern Oklahoma, my real-estate lady mentioned that if we were a member of the fire department, that it would save us money on our home mortgage insurance.
Previously, in my desire to be better prepared for the coming times, I had considered wanting to learn more about fire fighting and had thought about becoming a volunteer. I had been a reserve police officer (volunteer) in the Dallas area over a 15-year period. And I had joined the Dallas Chapter of the American Red Cross; serving on the DAT (Disaster Action Team) and had taken courses and signed up for the DSHR (Disaster Services Human Resources). However, fire fighting was something I knew nothing about; except they lived half their life in fire stations, drove around in big red trucks, sprayed water on fires, and climbed trees to get the neighborhood catsóor at least that was what I thought.
Only later did I learn that the real-estate agentís comment about being a "member" of the fire department didnít mean becoming a fireman, it simply meant paying a $35 yearly dues in support of the local rural fire department. By the way, that $35 in fire dues yielded me a insurance refund check of about $85 that first year.
What is a volunteer fireman? It is a person like you or me that is willing to "volunteer" a portion of their time to their community. The individual may be retired and have extra time; they may have a full-time job and only be able to respond at night or on weekends; or they may be self-employed, like myself, and have some flexibility in the amount of time they can commit and the times in which they can respond to fire calls. The reasons for wanting to be a volunteer fireman varies: from the thrill of it (typically for the younger of age); to a desire to give something back to the community; as a hobby; or as in my case, it is more of self-defense. We live in a very wooded area and back up to a state game reserve. If we have a forest fire, I want to be able to save our lives and property. Also, it is part of my overall plan of being prepared.
What do we as volunteer fire fighters do? As a rural volunteer fireman, we are called into action when the fire alert sounds over our two-way radios or police scanner/ monitors. When a fire is reported, the local sheriffís office serves as our dispatcher. The first thing we hear is a warbling tone alert over our radio scanner. Then the dispatcher announces, "Highway 100 Fire Department, you have a fire at ..." then follows the location of the fire. Here in the country the directions may include local information, like, "Itís on the dirt road behind Joe Greenís house, to the left of the fork, down behind where the old school bus used to be parked." For those people that have lived here all their life, this is adequate. For a person that has fairly recently moved to the area, getting there can sometimes be a challenge. In my case, I usually contact my neighbor, who is also associated with our fire department and has lived in the area most of his life, and understands my problem of trying to get to the fire. So he gives me detailed instructions on how to get to the fire location. Fortunately, the other firemen in my department know the area and are usually on their way.
Fire calls for our department are normally either grass or forest fires, house fires (or other type of buildings, example: barns), or car fires. Each involves different techniques and equipment to handle. We also respond to calls to assist other fire departments in our area; this is called mutual aid.
Life with the rural fire department is a lot different than I had expected. Most of our time is spent doing things that have nothing to do with fighting fires. Our rural fire department, and those I am familiar with, are basically self-funded. We get our money to buy equipment and pay our operational expenses through several methods. One, is the annual $35 dues that we get donated from the community members. Some of the community members pay their annual dues, and many donít. Those that have a mortgage get the benefit of a discount on their insurance. But others, whose homes are paid for, often donít carry insurance and donít see the benefit of paying dues. At least not until they have a fire and we send them a $250 bill for our services. Paid members are not billed for fire services.
Secondly, we receive some money from the state in the form of an annual grant that we and other rural fire departments in the state receive. This is only about $2200 a year. This helps, but is not enough to even outfit a single fireman in new gear. Thus most of what we buy is used gear and equipment.
Most of our time is actually spent raising money for the department. We hold fundraisers. These include breakfasts, chili cookoffs and pie auctions, turkey shoots, basketball tournaments, and such. We may hold anywhere from one of these a month, to at least 4 a year, depending on the season and our need for funds. Thus, most of our time as ďfiremenĒ is taken up in trying to get enough money to keep our station operational and the firemen in workable equipment.
Getting training has probably been the greatest challenge to me since Iíve been a fireman. I finally completed 30 hours of formal training sponsored by OSU (Oklahoma State University). Weíve held in-house training, but the formal training was welcome.
And being a fireman of any sorts is not without its risks.
I could probably ramble some more, but this covers some of the main points about my being a volunteer firemanóI hope you enjoyed it and found it interesting and informative.
Sincerely -- Byron
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Original date: April 4, 2000
Last updated: April 4, 2000