Monday, April 27, 2015

Book, "Prison Noir" editor Joyce Carol Oates

Hello Grafted In Readers,
Today is almost over which is April 27 in my corner of blog-land. Of late, I have been reading a book of prisoner portrait stories edited by Joyce Carol Oates.
The book title is "Prison Noir". Once getting beyond the "Give a shit," "Take a shit," "Fuck this," "Fuck that," one is faced with a set of narratives that seemingly strips away any sense of falsehood. Yet, several times it seems portraits regret the distrust this environment breeds, and time being the one commodity no one has taken away. It's "reality" minus the TV. I recommend this to one who is pondersome, interested in the prison system, or just care about the human family period.

On the writing front, this past Saturday it was my privilege to attend a book fair at our local library. There, I met some authors and became aware of a small book publisher about 60 miles from where we reside. I hope to eventually do some writing with and for them!

We continue the unpacking process and making our way through the sea of boxes that decorate our home.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Per custom,
Kevod Yeheveh, the presence of the L-rd go with us in our rest and in our restlessness, and in the contented moments of the journey.
Mellow Roc

Friday, April 24, 2015

Story, Reaching Beyond by David Russell

Hello Grafted In Reader,
Spring continues to roll on in my corner of blog-land, but the temperatures reflect more a sense of winter where I reside. For some of you, the fall season with its unique features is ongoing.
I have been doing more writing this month, and we also moved to a condo, so the unpacking process will continue for a while.

I want to share one of my story efforts with you, and welcome comment. It was developed from a writing exercise I participated in recently. My hope is to publish it one day in an anthology, or set of short stories by myself. Here is the story of three different responses to life difficulty.

Reaching Beyond
David Russell
“Life is difficult son, you may often be knocked down but you will not be knocked out. There are other ways you can be an active young lad,” Coach Ted of Scotty’s little league team stated.
“That was quite the play you tried to make. Unfortunately you broke your arm. In a few weeks though you will be as good as new, Scotty,” Coach Ted rubbed the lad’s head while commenting.
“I was so close to getting the batter out and slipped on the patch of dirt,” Scotty recalled holding back the tears.
A moment later Scotty added, “Coach, I wanted to play this summer, and it’s only mid-June.”
“I know you are becoming quite the pianist. Work up a good rendition of Take Me Out To The Ballgame, and – who knows,” commented coach trying to sooth the misfortune.
Scotty had been receiving piano lessons for nearly seven months and was in the three-month recital sponsored by the local music teacher’s association. He did spend the rest of his summer vacation  playing video games with Doug and Ken, two of his friends from school. During July he and his parents took a couple day trips to the lake and automobile museum.s He was more consistent with practicing piano.
“Scotty, I think you will be ready for the piano recital in January. Those three Chopin preludes are sounding very good,” Ms. Carter, his piano teacher remarked after one of his lessons in December.
“Do I get two weeks off for Christmas and New Years,” Scotty inquired.
“You sure do. Have fun and give a couple people a smile,” Ms. Carter exhorted.
In late January, the one-year point, the music teacher’s association hosted a local recital at the high school. The program was aired across the region on cable television. Scotty played three short pieces by Chopin. There were nine other students who participated. Scotty had taken his difficult moment, baseball injury, and turned the occasion into something he could cope with in his young life.

A Pitcher’s Out
Ace Howard had dreamed of becoming a major league baseball player since his uncle took him to a Detroit Tigers game 15 years previous. Then, he was age seven, and quite intrigued with the “big show” and its trappings. Now, at age 22 Ace was pitcher for the minor league team, The Ramblers.
Manager Dixon told him, “Ace, you are being scouted by the big team, and might be called up during the late summer. Keep working on your technique and less fancy stuff out there. I’ve seen guys get hurt by trying to be so cool.”
“OK Mr. D, as you say,” Ace acknowledged.
It was August 18, and The Ramblers were at 500 for the season. They were in a weekend series against the Ohio Munsters. Ace was called to relieve the starting pitcher in the seventh inning. The Ramblers had a commanding lead in the game.
“Batting next for the Munsters is Adam Isaacson,” the public address announcer stated. The first two pitches were low and away, and high and away. On the third pitch, Ace did a fancy turn that he had nearly perfected, dropped the ball and fell on the ground with instant pain in his right Achilles. He also felt sudden numbness in his forearm, his pitching arm.
“You are gonna be out the rest of the season, so try some rehab and come back for spring training,” Manager Dixon advised hours after the incident.
“Hell no. If I cannot have the “big show” this year, there isn’t gonna be any coming back,” Ace texted back.
“Ace, no one is going to beg you. You are a grown man and can make your decisions. Life is difficult and what you do about that will tell others about what you’re made of,” his team-mate Bud K confided over a couple cold brews.
“Nobody gives a rat’s trap about what I do or don’t do. They’ll turn their attention to the next potential super-star,” Ace responded somewhat angrily.
As the days and weeks passed, Ace more less gave up on his baseball future and startyed drinking more regularly. He could not rise above his short-term difficulty, but instead perceived it to be a sentence on what he held dear. The Ramblers finished the season at 500, and Ace finished his career in baseball.

Across The Fifty Yard-line
Bruce Rogers had been starting QB with his university team. He had begun to have talks with both GreenBay and Buffalo.
Coach Duffy told the players during halftime in their final season game,
“Boys, Life is difficult, but you have taken the road less traveled and continue to push through. I read those words in a 1980s book by M. Scott Peck titled, “The Road Less Traveled”, and those words are so true for most of us. Keep that in mind as you proceed through life.”
During the final game of the season and quarter, Bruce was tackled on catching a pass and in the pile-up sustained major injury to his right knee. He would be out of commission for a few months. His dad encouraged,
“Bruce, you are not out of the game for good. This injury is one injury not the sentence that says ‘it’s over’ move on. One might think Buffalo and GreenBay will be more impressed with how you handle this setback alongside your skills as a player. Life is difficult, and you can take the high road and God will be with you at each corner and crossing.”
Bruce thought of his dad’s words during the next few months that followed. His daily routine included college classes and rehab therapy.
“Bruce, I have enjoyed working with you on improving mobility in your knee and lower extremity,” Stacy encouraged during their last session.
“I have enjoyed working with you too. How about going for lunch with me,” he inquired.
“Well, um, meet you at the Student Union Grill?”
“Is 12:30 okay for you?”
Stacey nodded yes in agreement. They did have lunch and thereafter occasionally crossed paths on campus.
That May, Bruce graduated and over the next few weeks decided to give the Buffalo Bills training camp a good post college try.
“Rogers, we are pretty darn happy with your performance. Our team needs some new blood and new spirit,” the club owner told him after one practice.
“I want you to play during the upcoming season, and will put you on defense for a few games,” the Bills head coach informed.
Bruce did quite well to meld in withg the team. The Bills won their first three games, and lost in overtime in their fourth to Detroit. During the next few games, Bruce briefly played the QB position. In the final two games of the season he played one complete quarter as qB, and was on defense otherwise.
“We want to honor Bruce Rogers for the effort he has shown this year as a Buffalo Bill. We finished the year with 13 wins and three losses. Much credit goes to Bruce for the example he set, and to the team for the effort they have demonstrated. We also acknowledge the parents of Bruce Rogers for the belief they expressed to their son. He is a fine young man,” the club owner pronounced at the final game halftime show. Fans across the stadium could barely contain themselves as they showed their team a verbal outpouring of collective support.

-Bruce would likely live with the potential of his knee giving him trouble from time to time, but much could be said for attitude, support by others, and his quiet unshakable faith in an Almighty God who had Bruce’s interest and welfare in mind.
Bruce, Ace, and Scotty each reached beyond their misfortune, and made a choice that seemingly fit them at the time. Scotty used another ability as a young lad. Ace turned inward after losing the one dream in life he held dear. Bruce lived with his difficulty over time, and over time demonstrated a willingness and desire to come back to the game of football.
NOTE: This is a fictional account and names and places are created from this author's own imagination.
Kevod Yeheveh, His presence be with us in the up and down moments in life.
Mellow Roc :)

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Taking Care Of Business 1970s song

Hello Grafted In Reader,
Today is April 16 in my corner of blog land and there has been major change in life since last posting. Today, I find myself amid many boxed items as we moved from a four-bedroom one-story with basement house to a condo with two bedrooms, small office, and half the square footage as compared to before. No yard work anymore but a monthly bored meeting to attend - and association dues compared to buying implements for regular home maintenance.
-On the writing front: I submitted a poem titled, "Father, Forgive Them" for potential publication in a faith-based anthology. Now gathering steam to write a 20-40 word story using one word with two definitions. That's due in two weeks. I am still writing article content and most recently learned the Chevy 2015 Impala remains a classy reliable sedan especially for those with families.
-I just finished reading "A Widow's Story" by Joyce Carol Oates and highly recommend it. I plan to read one of her many novels very soon.
-Closing with a ponderous thought by American author Herman Melville who lived in an earlier time, but his writing still is with us. Kevod Yeheveh, God's presence accompanies us on the journey, and hope to hear from you!
All things that God would have us do are hard for us to do--remember that--and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavours to persuade.
HERMAN MELVILLE,

Sincerely,
Mellow Roc

Monday, March 30, 2015

Blessed Feast of Passover and Unleavened Bread To You

Hello Grafted in Reader,
It is almost March 31 in my corner of blogland, and on Friday at sundown, April 3, 2015, begins the Festival of Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.
For a simple explanation of this season, and its Spiritual significance to people of faith, I am pasting an article from "Hebrew-streams.com" discussing this time of year.
The church has ignored it for nearly 1600 years choosing instead to encapsulate it in the celebration of the Easter Season. They also ignore the time between the Resurrection and Pentecost as counting the omer. A time when people of faith prepare for celebrating the again coming of the Holy Spirit.
Please be enriched this season, Kevod Yeheveh.
Now the article presentation.


Passover Studies

In the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible, Old Testament), the Passover in Egypt (Exodus 12) was the birth of the people of Israel. Their deliverance from slavery confirmed God's earlier promises to Abraham to make him into a great people or goy gadol (Genesis 12:2).
Passover [Hebrew, pesach, "to pass over"] became the most important festival in later Hebrew history. It often sparked spiritual renewal when national vision needed revival (Joshua 5; 2 Chronicles 30 and 35; Ezra 6). In later Judaism, it became the focus of messianic expectation. Even today in Jewish homes, a table setting is placed for Elijah, the Messiah's forerunner, which testifies to the enduring hope that the Mashiach will come at Pesach.
In the New Testament, Passover pictured the spiritual liberation and new life created by Yeshua's death (as a sacrificial lamb provided by God) and his resurrection (coming up from the tomb of death-slavery). The so-called "Lord's Supper" (1 Corinthians 11:20) was a Seder meal led by Yeshua in a Jerusalem home.
This historical nexus between Yeshua and the ancient faith of Israel was never abandoned or lost, at least among his Jewish disciples.
Years afterward, Yeshua's primary emissary to the non-Jews would tell a congregation of Gentile believers that "Messiah our Passover has been sacrificed" (1 Cor 5:7).
Their celebration of Messiah's death involved eating Bread and drinking the memorial "Cup of Blessing" (the third of four traditional cups at a Seder; 1 Cor 10:16). Paul's declaration is unequivocal: "Let us celebrate the Feast" (1 Cor 5:8).
In the early centuries, many followers of Yeshua (both Jew and Gentile) continued to observe Passover as a memorial to him. They did so in spite of opposition from the Church of Rome, which finally put a stop to it in most places after AD 400. Only in the latter decades of the 20th century has Passover's significance and its ancient place of honor been revived among Christians, largely due to the efforts of Jesus-believing, Messianic Jews.
The Passover imagery, with its deeply embedded spiritual principles, links the life, death and resurrection of Yeshua to the ancient Covenant that God made with Abraham.
Yeshua's Last Passover confirmed that Covenant as being "eternal" (Hebrews 13:20). And Passover will be the final meal the Messiah shares one day with all his people, Jew and Gentile—a seder that will include, in his words, "Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets" (Luke 13:28).
Passover begins at sundown in:
2015—5775 on Friday, Erev Shabbat April 3
2016—5776 on Friday, Erev Shabbat April 22

Related Articles
Ancient Passover Seder compared with Gospel Accounts of Yeshua's Last Passover
This outline shows how the NT accounts of Yeshua's final Pesach meal with his disciples closely follows the traditional pattern celebrated by Jews in the first century. [2 PDF pages]
God Raised the Lord
The NT has a consistent and widely unnoticed witness about the resurrection. [2 HTML pages]
He Who is Coming: The Hidden Afikoman
The dessert matzah of the Passover Seder once had messianic connotations. But over time they were apparently suppressed. This article discusses the meaning of afikoman and the light it sheds on the Last Passover of Yeshua. [3 HTML pages]
The Last Passover of Yeshua
Based on historical documents, this is a reconstruction of what the Seder may have been like when Yeshua and his disciples observed it for the last time. [16 pages, PDF]
A Messianic Kiddush
A Hebrew-English kiddush that honors God, Yeshua Messiah, and the ancient blessing. [1 HTML page]
A Passover Prayer
For Messianic followers of Yeshua. [1 PDF page]
Saturday Night: The First Day of the Week
When the first Jewish and Gentile believers gathered for fellowship, the evidence in Acts 20 is that they met on Saturday night, after Shabbat ended — not on Sunday morning. [4 HTML pages]
The Third Day: Resurrection Patterns in the Hebrew Bible
Paul says Yeshua Messiah was raised from the dead "on the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:4). But there's no passage in the Hebrew Bible explicitly making this prophecy. So where did this well-versed rabbi, educated under Gamaliel of the House of Hillel, see such a prediction in the "Scriptures"? [4 HTML pages]
Who Killed Yeshua?
The NT puts the blame for the death of Yeshua on three sources: Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, Gentile leaders from Rome, and God himself. [3 HTML pages]
Yeshua bar Abba
There is a play on the names of Jesus and Barabbas which is invisible in English Bibles. Only knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic (and some textual analysis) reveals this spiritually rich irony in the gospel story of Yeshua's last day. [2 HTML pages]
Yeshua Fixed Them Breakfast
At dawn, on the beach of Kinneret, he welcomed his weary disciples.

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