Thursday, December 9, 2010

But a Beggar

I walked the darkened mountain paths
I cried out to the Unseen God
Speaking in anguish
Acknowledging the truth that has finally come home

I am but a beggar
I have nothing to give
There is not one thing that is my own
I look upon the meager things I have wrought
I despair for they are more than worthless and foul

I can but cry out for mercy
Why anyone would want me, I cannot comprehend
Whatever has befallen my touch has been corrupted
Completely empty is my store house
There is but sorrow and shame to share
My state is utterly helpless
I am nothing

A cold wind blew as I stood alone in shame
The wind carried a song sung long ago by the afflicted
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from
their destruction”

The Unseen God reminded me of His unchanging word
His unfailing faithfulness and never ending compassion
He asked that I but cried out to Him
I am but to fall at His mercy and He promised me renewed hope

I cried with all my heart and He met me there
I am a beggar
I am redeemed
I have everything I need

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Depths of Grace

God meets us only when we are willing to be absolutely honest with Him. Then He will go to any depth and continue for any length in order to rescue us from ourselves.

The Depths of Grace

Down here I can't see
Eyes wide in darkness be
Feet shod with thickened clay
A slow march to death each day

Nothing good I thought could be
Down in the depths here with me

Grace shone down to light the way
Breaking feet out from the clay
Lifting eyes to the sky
Giving life lest I die

Grace is a key breaking me free
Lifting me up from me to thee

Out of the pit I was pulled
Truth against the lies of old
Love so free surrounding me
Embraced by hope which set me free
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Friday, November 26, 2010

He Calls Me Deep

The only thing I seem to be able to write lately is poetry, so here you go...

This poem is called "He Calls Me Deep"

Deep down deep, layer beneath layer
Festers a secret me, hidden from all
Safe protected safe, alone always alone
Dark in silence, lost in pain

Broken so broken, needy too needy
Hopeless for love, crying for hope
Running always running, fear suffocating fear
Afraid to lose what I see, not receiving what I have

Why oh why, understanding never understanding
So many questions, so few answers
Knowning, not knowing, believing barely believing
Do I have faith, will I ever trust

Call persistent call, love mounting love
Imploring to trust, truth to stand on
Pride breaking pride, life renewing life
A setting free of the deep

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hope and Glory Forever

I'm back, or at least for a while. I want to start writing again and I'm trying to make it a priority, but there are so many distractions. I love sharing with you all the craziness that goes on in my head. It helps me make a little bit of sense out of it all and maybe you can get to know me a little better in the process.

I'm going to try and post about once a week. I hope to finish The Curse of the Baker Family Pets soon, but we'll see what happens. The rest of my pet stories are a little harder on the ears and heart and I haven't figured out how to share them without losing you, my audience.

Here's a poem I wrote a couple days ago.

Hope and Glory Forever

Empty and lost from waiting
Long forgotten dreams have faded from existence

Once the sun was brightness to me and light and good
But blistering heat is what I understand in this time
Senseless, unending, torturous heat
Why must I sweat and be beaten by this oppression

I yearn to be filled up and to find the answer to hope
Will my mind ever overflow with joyous thoughts of the future

Darkness appeals to the overwhelmed senses, frayed for use
Clouds take me, wrap me, and swallow me whole in dimness
Cool comforting caresses of momentary shadows
Maybe they will last, maybe they will give me what I want

I long to be full and to see clearly through these delusions and lies
Peace has escaped my grasp, will I ever apprehend glory

Light can pierce darkness and reveal the hope within
Surrounding me with joy, crowding out the deception
Faith, hope and LOVE
Love is what I need, God is love

I will be overflowing one day, when I see His love and all that He is
Perfect love is mine, and all hope and glory forever

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lake Michigan

I just got out of lake Michigan. Water is a perfect 72 degrees. I jump off the pier and enjoyed a leisurely swim. A bunch of kids were jumping and dive off the pier nearby. I love small towns and the seemingly simple life they portray. Makes me want to move here someday. Don't worry I wont make any rash descions :)

Here are a view pics from my afternoon at the lake.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Day One: My Trip to Michigan

0500- Saturday morning- it's not fun to getting up this early, but I'm ready to go. I'm taking a trip with my dad back to his home town to visit his family.

Strange feelings...I feel ready, I feel scared and confident all at the same time. God is with me, I know that beyond doubt. That is my comfort and my strength.

Its raining hard...I love rain!

Now I'm drenched from running the 50 feet to the car, but its worth it...I LOVE the rain.

0645- We just left the ground. We are en-route to the Windy City. Still excited...wondering what God has in store.

I love flying. I'm not sure why, it's always uncomfortable and it has always meant change for me in the past. I've never liked change, but for some reason I love flying.

0650- Reading Three Cups of Tea. Awesome book about a rock climber who starts hundreds of schools in Pakistan. Thank you Lara for recommending it. And all the rest of you should read it too!

0717- Watching the show Better off Ted on my laptop becuase its the only show I have on my hard drive. There's WiFi available on this flight but it will cost me $13 dollars to use-not worth it.

0950- No wait, 1150- I hate losing time. Just arrived safe in Chicago. Three and a half hours flew by (lol). I know...lame, but you laughed! Have I told you I love traveling...and airports...and flying.

1158- Taking the 'L' to Monroe Street in downtown Chicago so we can wait around for our train to Holland. The 'L' is much older than the light rail in Phoenix. Feels like it might start to fall apart at any minute. This is Obama's home town so he would never let that happen, right? I guess Obama was in Chicago yesterday. Too bad I missed him, I'm very bummed (lol).


1215- Its so green here-it's awesome. I love green. I love jungle most of all, but a nice green wood will do. The thicker the better of course.
 
Coming up from the 'L'

1309- I haven't been surrounded by so many tall buildings in a long time. It is very impressive what man can do when he puts his mind to it.


1405- We decided to check out the view from the Sears Tower (I guess its called the Willis Tower now). Standing in line...hope it doesn't take too long.

1456- Still standing in line...

1517- Still stuck in line and will be for a lot longer it looks like. Hope we get to the top before our train leaves at 5:30 pm.


1545- Finally at the top, not sure if its worth the wait, but I'm here. The sky walk is interesting, but 103 stories isn't as high as I thought it would be. I don't feel very high. I guess I was hoping to feel a little adrenaline rush or something.


1710- Just boarded the train, three hours and one minute to Holland. Someone is a little too concerned about determining the exact length of the trip. I would have been fine with rounding it to a solid three hours.


I arrived safely in Holland, Michigan last night. The weather was perfect. Clear sky, gentle breeze, and temperatures in the mid 70's (just thought I would rub that in a bit). So far so good. God has been working already and will continue I'm sure. I'm looking forward to the rest of the adventure that God has for me here. I will write more soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Breaking Through

I was driving earlier and I saw the sun struggling to break through the brooding clouds. I couldn't help but feel a connection. I raced to a decent spot to take a picture and snapped this off with my high tech camera phone. Not the greatest quality but still a great picture of how I feel.

The Void

Yearning fills me
emotion takes over
dying for connection 
I feel lost

Love surrounds me
friends and family
perfect Father
I feel alone

Deep down
lost to all
what is good
I feel wrong

Into the void
feel the deep
engage the pain
I feel sad

Run from the void
jettison myself
disengage
I feel dead

Will it fade
the haziness
clouding me
I feel empty

The void
always there
never filled
never satisfied

I feel hopeless

But I know there is hope...

Psalm 42: 2-5
  
  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
         When shall I come and appear before God?
  My tears have been my food day and night,
         While they continually say to me,
         “Where
is your God?”
        
  When I remember these
things,
         I pour out my soul within me.
         For I used to go with the multitude;
         I went with them to the house of God,
         With the voice of joy and praise,
         With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
        
  Why are you cast down, O my soul?
         And
why are you disquieted within me?
         Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
         
For the help of His countenance.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lost and Wandering

I’ve been wandering around lost in the recesses of my mind. Bogged down by a mire of lies that have developed over years of misinformation and bad choices. Its been a week of bad choices and believing those lies. I let myself slip into the old fog where confusion and chaos rule. No clarity, no foundation, slowly losing hope, slowly dying.

I don’t mean to be dramatic or negative in any way, but I do want to be clear. I feel like I was floundering and the reason why begins with my choice not to trust and to take control over my life. Life! As if I can have life when I’m in control. When I step back and look at my futile attempts to control my life I have to laugh. I know so little, I control even less, and when I try to control I end up lost and wandering. What drives it all is that innate desire for love and acceptance, which I think I can find on my own. True love only comes from one place. The place that I have been running from this week.

I see now the irony. I want love so badly, but I’m running from the only person who can give me what I want. I’m looking in all the wrong places. So my life becomes an endless pursuit of something that does not exist here. Looking everywhere, finding only disappointment after endless disappointment, because nothing satisfies, nothing fills, nothing is perfect. Yet the mind plays tricks, ‘the next one will be the one.’

Eventually I get tired of searching, and I give up, saying, ‘I will just be alone.’ Stop yearning and maybe the pain will go away. It will numb and fade, but I will die. I’ve followed that road many times and I have only just broken free from those chains. Despair becomes your only friend, and there is room for no one else, only misery and self-pity.

Hope has begun to break through the chaos. There is a foundation of truth and love that I can stand on. It boils down to relationship, but not the kind of relationship that I keep seeking after. A true love relationship, where the other person is always put first. My Father wants me to love Him. This isn’t selfishness on His part because He already loves me so much more than I could possibly ever love Him. This is the only true love and this is the model and foundation for every other relationship. In reality I can only love Him because He loved me first. As I engage in this relationship, receive the love, it compels me to love, and not only my Father but all those around me as well. Now I have something to give. I am no longer empty, lost and wandering, but full of life. I have purpose and love is at the center of it all. Love is true life!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tuxedo

Have I ever told you about our cat Tuxedo? No...okay, well you're in for a treat. Tuxedo was by far the best and the craziest cat we ever had. We got Tuxedo when I was about ten years old and obviously he looked just like he had a tux on, because he had a nice patch of white fur on his chest. He was so cuddly and cute when he was little, but he got a little more aggressive as he got older.

              (Yes, I realized that all the animal pics I have are with my sister)

Tuxedo's favorite place to hangout was at the end of our couch. The couch was next to our main walk way and his favorite thing to do was jump out from behind the couch and surprise us as we walked by. The surprise was that he would fly at you with all fours paws out-stretched and wrap himself around your leg with claws extended. He then became a permanent fixture on your leg as you continued to walk. Or if you attempted to remove him with a hand, your hand would be pulled into his trap as well. Our legs were constantly decorated by nice long scratches.

As he got older he developed a few other bad habits as well. He loved attacking our neighbors six year old boy. He also liked to mark his territory and for some reason he thought the clean sheets hanging on our neighbors clothesline were his, you get the idea. Some of his habits were quite amusing and more or less harmless, unless you happened to be a bat or mouse. He loved to sit on our second story porch and wait for the bats as they flew around our house at night. When he saw one flying close enough he would leap off the porch and snatch the bat out of the air. The bat would practical be eaten by the time he hit the ground. The only parts he didn't eat were the wings, which he so graciously gave to my sis as a little prize. One night my sis was having a sleepover and a couple of the girls were sleeping on a mattress on the floor in her room. Tuxedo caught a nice juicy mouse, ate half of it and left the other half at the feet of my sisters friend. The girl woke with a start and screamed as loud as an air raid siren, waking everyone up. You would of thought she had seen a ghost. It was just a harmless mouse...

We loved tuxedo a lot but he was a wild cat. He broke the last straw when he killed our neighbor girl's pet chicken. I still don't understand what the big deal is. She should of never let her chicken out where it was vulnerable. Irregardless (a made up word that is redundant and rather pointless, but still fun to use, and if you have a problem with that [Kass], google it!), we decided that we had to get rid of Tuxedo before our neighbors decided to stop speaking to us.

Since Tuxedo was such a good hunter we figured he would be fine if we just left him in the jungle. My dad and my sister took him away on the motorbike and left him far enough that he wouldn't find his way home. I'm fairly certain that he probably still rules that part of the jungle to this day. Or maybe he died that very day of a broken heart...no, I doubt it. I think maybe he didn't have one.

So, not really a happy ending, but not a bizarre random death either, so maybe this is one mark against the existence of the curse. Though it kind of depends on how you feel about abandoning cats in the jungle...you decide.

Monday, July 12, 2010

If worrying actually caused warts I would be a wart hog


Is life complicated? I feel like it is very, very complicated most of the time. There is always so much going on around me. So much to think about and figure out and mostly to worry about. I often feel overwhelmed and want to give up, but mostly I just worry about everything some more. So maybe my life isn't so much complicated but worrisome? Not sure if I'm using that word correctly, but you get the idea. I also don't think I'm alone in this. I think its in human nature to want to be in control and when we aren't in control (which is all the time) we start to worry. Or maybe I'm just projecting?

The point of this post isn't to ramble on about my problem with worrying, so I'll get on with it and explain what God has (ever so gently) been explaining to me.

One of the things I worry about is my job (here I go again). I feel like no matter what I do, how good an employee I am, I could still be let go at any minute. There is just no stability in the company I work for, and it seems like my job depends mostly on whether my boss is feeling good today or not. This is completely out of my control, but I spend a lot of time thinking and mostly worrying about it. This is just one of many situations that I feel is on the verge of stomach ulcer status. Sad I know, but I can't help...or can I?

God has been showing me that my worries are simply a lack of trust in Him and His faithfulness. Simple truth, but when you unpack it, it has very large implications. If God is good (He certainly is) and He cares about me (which He does) then I need not worry about any situation I find myself in. Its so simple really (I need simple). I can trust God, He will give me whats best for me and He is always faithful.

So often I feel like I have to figure everything out and break it down, and it has to be completed, resolved...perfect. There is no room for imperfection, for stretching and growing and slowly being shaped by loving hands. Often I forget that the hands are there and I feel like I have to do this on my own. I guess that's the point I'm trying to make, I need to trust the hands that are guiding me. He knows, He cares and He will give me what I need in ever situation. I don't have to have it all together, only trust Him now, in this situation right now.

He is here with me, He loves me, He is good; why shouldn't I trust Him...there is hope!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Commander Wesley R. Guinn

This was suppose to be my post for the fourth, but my internet has been acting up and I keep putting off finishing it. So this is just a reminder that we can still be patriotic even after the fourth. Just a thought about how much so many have given to protect our freedom. Its not a dramatic or glorious story, but simply about a man who has stayed the course and been a faithful part of our military.

I did a job at an older woman's house about a week ago. While I was filling out the paper work she asked me what my name was. I told her my name and she exclaimed,"that's my sons name." I could tell she was very proud of her son. She immediately asked if she could show me some pictures. Ordinarily I would have given some excuse about being in a hurry to get to my next job, but I didn't have another job right away and so I decided to amuse her.

She proceeded to show me an entire album of pictures dedicated to her son and his service in the Navy. He was the commander of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Scranton for the last three years before he retired. I was very impressed. I don't know a lot about the military but I do know that it is an honor to command a submarine and only the best men receive that honor. I saw pictures of this man and his family and his men and thought, "this is a good man." He seems to have had a very full and accomplished life. I took a picture of one of the many pictures of him in the album:



I told his mother I would post this in my blog and I just thought it would be nice to give one of the many faithful in our military some of the respect and honor they deserves. Thank you Commander Guinn for your service.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Elusive the Snake

Okay, so maybe that wasn't his real name, but it's catchy and I don't have a clue what we actually called our first pet snake. Okay, only pet snake, that we didn't even have for very long, but we did have a pet snake.

Have you ever tried to catch a snake? It's much more difficult than you might think. First there is the fear factor. Snakes are scary no matter how small and harmless they are. They were harmless where I lived because there has never been a recorded poisonous snake on the island of New Britain. I couldn't help but wonder if I might be the first to discover one. Then there is what I call the 'slime' factor. They seem slimy even though they totally aren't. They're just slippery and hard to grab, and even if they're not poisonous, no one wants to be bit. Poisonous or not, a snake bite hurts! If you are in the jungle, like I was, then there are also lots of places for a snake to hide or to escape your attempts to catch it. None the less, my sis and I did indeed catch a small snake, in the jungle, without getting bit.

Elusive(or whatever we named him{or her, for that matter}), the snake, was about two feet long and green all over. We carried our prize home ever so carefully and placed him in a small screen cage we used for transporting our cat. Our only dilemma was what to feed our new slimy friend. We really had no idea what a snake might enjoy eating. We pondered and argued and eventually agreed that our Elusive might enjoy some spiders, at least as a snack till we could fine something more substantial. We knew just where to find a large number of what we called X spiders(these spiders wove a neat little X at the center of there webs). After collecting several fine specimens we placed them in the cage with our friend Elusive. We kept them alive of course, in order that they would remain fresh till Elusive was ready to dine.

The next day we discovered Elusive dead in his(or her) cage and all the spiders quite alive and well. Apparently the X spider is more than capable of killing a snake. We began to wonder if they might be able to kill a human too. We decided we wouldn't play with X spiders anymore. There were several different type of poisonous spiders on our island, thought we didn't know which they were. We did know that the X spider seemed to be one of them. This lesson we learned the hard way.

Just another one of the many pets that fell to the curse...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fog

It came like a wall. Wanting to envelope me and take complete control over me. It felt familiar, like an old friend, but not a friend you enjoy being around. The friend that you can’t seem to get rid of, that’s always there whether you want them to be or not. Maybe friend is not right, but someone that is familiar and close and won’t go away. Yet I couldn’t identify the wall.

It touched me, and my body shook, I was afraid and I was almost crushed.

Then I started to understand what it was. The wall was a fog, dark, damp and thicker than any jungle. I used to live in that fog. It tainted everything I did. The darkness clouded my sight; I could never see far, only near, and only the bad, never the good. The dampness seeped like fear into my bones and held me, paralyzed, afraid to fail. The despair was thick, coating me like oil; staining, suffocating, weighing me down. Despair was the stuff that held the fog together.

Despair was touching me and wanted me to submit to its rule of darkness.

But this time I could see. The fog was there, I was not in it. I had a choice. You might think it odd that I would consider embracing the fog, but remember, this is my old friend. I may not always like him, but I know him. I may not enjoy him, but I am comfortable with him. The comfortable often becomes us even when it is not good for us. I considered, and I chose the uncomfortable. I shouted out my old friend.

The darkness started to fade and as the Son shined brighter the cold dampness burned away. I embraced the Sons rays and basked in the light. There is no darkness that can stand before the Son.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

My Jungle


I thought it would be fun to share some pics from my jungle
this is the house where I grew up
my dad built it from the ground up



Klokio, the oldest man in my village



dinner



a house in the neighborhood



a bridge we built when the old one got washed out



when it rains it pores



one of our many beautiful sunsets


video

the sounds of a peaceful night in the jungle
I miss the jungle noises so much
for a long time it was hard to sleep without them


Just a little walk down memory lane, hope you enjoyed the pics

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mostly forgotten

Behind closed doors no one sees
closets, cellars, attics and old sheds
old memories, some cherished, some haunting, left behind...
mostly forgotten

What will I find in my cellar
fears, hopes, lost love, regrets, deep hurts
locked away in silence behind doors rarely opened...
mostly forgotten

Its dark there, messy and cluttered
no ones goes there, i won't let them
what will they see, they might find the me that I want...
mostly forgotten

Outside closed doors, you'll find things neat, tidy
everything fits in its place, just where I want it
no questions, nothing questionable, I am...
mostly forgotten

The hidden things are ugly, unwanted, who would want them
if I can't love them, who can
will they stay forever...
mostly forgotten

I feel a need to open the door
to bare the cellar of my soul
I don't want to be forever...
mostly forgotten


Maybe if the hidden things are brought out
fears can be assuaged, hopes renewed
lost love found, regrets put to rest, hurts comforted, and I won't be...
mostly forgotten

Only one truly knows all that lays behind closed doors
He sees all that I fear to expose
He tells me that I am not...
mostly forgotten


but remembered forever

Don't worry I'm not turning this into a blog about my poetry, I just happen to feel a bit poetic these last couple weeks. I'm not used to sharing poetry, it makes me feel a little dramatic and mostly insecure, but I hope you enjoy it. There may be more in the future, depending on my mood. I don't feel poetic very often, but it does happen on occasion. So we'll just see what happens...


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I cry why...

Breaking Down

aching, breaking, feeling the pain
why does it have to be this way?
writhing, screaming, punching
emotion takes over

darkness falls on me, I cry out, why?
falling deeper into blackness
until I break
I cry, not why, but
save me, I'm so lost
who can save me?

He is there, this mystery that I can't see
why should He care, why is He here with me
I thought I was alone in the dark
He whispers to me, you'll never be alone
I am always here with you

Roller Coaster Adventures

I remember the last time I rode a roller coaster. It was a long time ago, but I remember it clearly. The anticipation as I waited in the long, slow line, that inched forwards. The excitement as I got closer to the ride, and the rush as I was locked in and the car started to move forward. There was no turning back and I was a little scared but very excited for what was coming next.

Click, click, click, I was slowly pulled to the top and stalled, for that brief second I was on top of the world, and then I lurch down with a rush to the bottom, falling with my stomach in my throat. In the end I pull safely to the platform and disembark with another fun experience to remember.

Why is it that when we say we're on an emotional roller coaster it has this bad connotation? I don't quite understand it, but this does seem to be the commonly understood meaning of the phrase.

I want to change that...

I've been on an emotional roller coaster, but though it is scary at times, I wouldn't trade it for the world. We don't pay exorbitant amounts of money at amusement parks to ride, "The Tallest Coaster in the World!" because it sucks. Its an experience-exciting, scary, intense and ultimately good. So let me explain my new definition of an emotional roller coaster.

Life can be, or I guess it just is, crazy. It is inevitable that we will go up and down and be thrown around in every which direction as we go through life. Thinks will be exciting, intense, scary- even sad and painful at time; but ultimately, as believers we know that God is good and has a plan in it all. As we are thrown about and don't understand what is going on, or where we will be going next, we can rest in the safety of God's faithful hands. Just as we rest in the safety of the car and the rail that it rides on. God is in control and He will guide us safely to our destination. We don't have to fret and worry about the ups and downs because He will bring us safely home.

Trust God as you ride your emotional roller coaster, and instead of scary or bad, you may find you're on an adventure instead.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Then I Look Up

I'm going to start posting more than just my pet stories on my blog. This is a song I wrote a couple months ago.

Then I Look Up

Standing in a field feeling so empty lost and alone

My sin condemns me my fears choke away my life

My pride holds me captive, I don't want to give in

I am afraid to trust


Then I look up, I feel the breeze, take in the sky

I see the truth, I feel hope rise, rise


He made me, He loved me, He died for me,

He fills me, never leaves me, and leads me into life, life


The beauty and power begin to reveal an awesome Creator

Who made all things right in His plan

My pride can not stand in His presence

Now I can trust


He made me, He loved me, He died for me,

He fills me, never leaves me, and leads me into life, life


This song is about how creation reminds me over and over again how God is in control and I am nothing when I stand before Him. Yet He loves me and has sought me out. When I find myself doubting or questioning Him I look at the beauty and perfection of what He's made and find myself humbled and reassured.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A random animal story thrown in for the heck of it...

One fine morning, deep in the jungle, a loud noise erupted outside my bedroom window, awaking me from sound sleep. Several of my friends were hooping and hollering and going on louder than my friend Tommy in the morning (not an easy feat). I dragged myself out of bed to investigate and discovered the reason for their intense excitement. A very tasty meal had all but fallen into their laps. My friends were all gathered around a tree looking up at a python writhing and squirming because it had chosen an indigestible meal. Apparently the python had snuck up on a bird with a very large beak and tried to snag it as a little snack. The problem was the bird didn't go down without a fight. While it was being swallowed whole it used its beak and poked a hole through the side of the python in a very resourceful, albeit futile, escape attempt. My friends thought this was amazing luck because now they got to eat a python and a bird and they didn't have to spend even five minutes hunting either one (remember this is a jungle, we eat these kind of things regularly). All in all a very exciting experience and just the beginning of another crazy day in the jungle.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Squeaker!

What better name is there for a cassowary than squeaker? I'm jumping ahead in the time line a bit. My sis and I adopted Squeaker when I was round ten years old. A few of the local natives had gone hunting and come home with a mother cassowary and her chick. Of course the mother they roasted and ate, but the chick was still fairly small and didn't have too much meat on it; so they figured instead of wasting it, maybe they could get a few bucks out of the crazy missionary kids. They were right. As soon as we saw Squeaker we wanted him, and money was no object (we paid the equivalent of $5 for him, not much money to us, but a lot to them).

As soon as he opened his mouth and squeaked he had his name. The next dilemma was where to keep our new pet. The only place we could come up with was our generator shed located a few hundred feet from the our house. So we moved Squeaker in with the generator, the fuel and other assorted chemicals (I'm sure you can see where this is going). He seemed quite comfortable and we gave him plenty of food and water, and lots of love.

Three days later we went out to say hi to our new friend and found Squeaker dead on the floor of the shed. We never figured out if he died from the shock of losing his mother, and being stuck in a new environment, or if he got into one of the many toxic chemicals in the shed. We were very sad about losing our new pet, but since we had only had him for a few days we got over him pretty quickly.

This is the part of the story where you might start to judge my sis and I. I just want to remind you in advance that we did grow up in a jungle in a very different culture. So take it easy on us as I explain what we did next.

So Squeaker was dead, and we were curious. We really want to know what cassowary might taste like. A few of our native friends told us that they would help us roast Squeaker so we could try cassowary meat. We decided maybe we could honor Squeaker by not letting his body go to waste. Needless to say, we cooked and ate our pet cassowary and I for one really enjoyed him. Just remember, this is all quite normal for anyone who grows up in the jungle, so don't judge too harshly.

I must admit the curse may not have had to work too hard to pull this one off, but I still think it may have been involved somehow...

Friday, April 30, 2010

Koki Kaikai


"Koki kaikai, koki kaikai," all day long our cockatoo would say that phrase over and over. It means "cockatoo wants to eat" in Pigeon English. We got the koki (cockatoo) from a missionary that was moving back to the US. I guess he really wasn't thinking when he taught the koki that phrase. This coincidentally was kokis the name, Koki Kaikai. Not too catchy, but it kind of made sense if you were around the cockatoo for more than five minutes.

We kept Koki Kaikai in the chicken coop which obviously no longer had chickens in it. We went from eating eggs to eating chickens and eventually ran out. Koki Kaikai was a lot of fun. He would fly around the village but he would always come back and he liked to walk back and forth across your shoulders or go up on your head. He never bit or scratched. We really enjoyed owning him until he started to develop some bad habits.

I guess he started to get bored in the chicken coop and so one day he started cutting a hole in the wire and flew out of the coop. He immediately went to the nearest electrical wire and started peeling the plastic coating off. The wires were only 12 volts so they weren't dangerous, and he wasn't really hurting anything until he started clipping the wires. One day we went to turn on our radio and it didn't work. We thought it was broken some how until we went downstairs and found Koki Kaikai chewing on the wire. One of his other favorite things to do when he flew the coop was pull clothes pins off the line and let the clothes fall to the ground. One day he got out and clipped our neighbors radio antenna right in two. While we were on vacation for a couple weeks, our neighbor Mr. Nichols was feeding Koki Kaikai when he flew at him and bit him in the face.

That was the last straw. We decided we had to get rid of him before he caused major problems with our neighbors or actually damaged something that was irreparable. We didn't want to give him to the tribal people because we knew he would probably just end up on their dinner table, so we gave him to an Anglican priest who lived about a half hour away (hiking, not driving).

The priest really like the bird, but he couldn't get it to stay with him. Koki Kaikai kept trying to fly home to his coop that he had previously spent so much time trying to get out of. In the end the priest decided to clip Koki Kaikai's wings until he got used to his new home. One day the bird was wandering around the yard and a very large very hungry pig grab him and ate him.

Who ever heard of a bird getting eaten by a pig? Does this sound normal to you...no? ...me neither.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How do chicken hawks and snakes get so smart?

Around this same time period, when I was very little, we also had several chickens in a coop under our house (our house was eight feet off the ground on stilts). We usually took the eggs and had them for breakfast but on this occasion we decided to let them hatch and so we had five or six little chicks running around. We often let the chickens range free during the day and put them back into the coop at night.

While the chicks were still little we found out that a chicken hawk was terrorizing the neighborhood. Several young chicks had already helped fatten the glutenous chicken hawk. We didn't want our chicks to add to the hawk's obvious problem of over eating and besides we had grown fond of our cute little chicks. One day they would grow up to lay eggs for us, or become tasty meals in there own right, so we decided to keep our chicks in the coop until the hawk moved on to some other neighborhood.

One afternoon I was observing the beauty of another day God had created, and considering the fact that we had outsmarted the evil hawk when I spotted it on the horizon. I was in no way prepared for what was about to happen. The hawk suddenly started to bank sharply and swoop down in my direction. At first I feared it was headed for me and I was about to cower (remember I'm own five or six here) when I realized it was actually headed for the chicken coop. I was just recovering from the shock when I saw the hawk fly right up to the side of the coop and proceed to reach through the wire and snatch one of our poor chicks. The hawk pulled the chick free of the coop and then flew away victoriously. We were sadden by the loss of our little chick but comforted by the fact that we still had several more.

Now several weeks later the chicks are still chicks but they seem to be growing up so fast and we are excited that we will soon have several more chickens. Then the unthinkable happens. One morning I went down to feed the chickens and discover that all of the five remaining chicks were dead on the floor of the coop. Each chick was slightly squished and somewhat in the shape of a cylinder. I was shocked but also very curious to know what could have caused this strange turn of events. It wasn't till I looked closely at the floor of the coop that I discovered a clue. There appeared to be tracks of some sort in the dirt and as I observe them it dawned on me what had happened. A snake, small enough to fit through the wire, had gotten into the coop and had eaten all of the chicks, only to discover it could no longer leave the coop with it distended belly, it proceed to regurgitate each chick, until it was again able to escape. The tragedy was, the snake was still hungry, and we lost all our chicks for nothing.

One tragedy could simply be bad luck, but two, so close together, and so thoroughly destructive, would seem to point to something more sinister going on...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Missing Pangis

If you were around when I was four (these stories aren't exactly chronological) you might of seen me hopping along next to a couple pangis. We often liked to race each other, it was quite fun. Again I don't remember their names so I'm going to call them Pangi One and Pangi Two.

Now you're going to ask, "what's a pangi?" and I'm going to say, "I really don't know how to describe a pangi." I guess I could start with the English name, which is a wallaby (pangi is a Pigeon English word). Problem is most people have never heard of a wallaby either. Maybe the best way to describe a wallaby is to call it a mini kangaroo. Now if you don't know what a kangaroo is, I can't help you.


So we had our wallabies for several months and they had become a
part of the family. Our wallabies loved to followed us everywhere we went and we spent a great deal of time with them. We were all very sad when Pangi One and Pangi Two both disappeared. We looked everywhere for them but they were nowhere to be found. We figured maybe they ran away, but we thought this was odd because they had never tried to run before.

So my dad had an office a few hundred yards behind the house. Since my dad spend most of the day back there he decided to dig an outhouse next to his office. The pit was dug but the building over it wasn't finished so there was just a big hole about twelve feet deep and five foot square. It wasn't till a week after the pangis went missing that we went to finish the outhouse and found the pangis dead at the bottom of the hole. We were all very sad, but glad to finally know what had happened to them.

At the time we thought this was just a terrible tragedy, but now as I look back I can't help but wonder if something more was going on...

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Dancing Guinea Pig



When I was very young we also owned two guinea pigs, Brownie and Fluffy (or something like that, I actually have no idea what they were named, I was too young to remember). Anyways "Brownie" and "Fluffy" lived in a cage that we moved around the yard in-order to keep the grass short, or maybe just for fun, or, I guess I don't really know why we had guinea pigs. Whatever the reason we had them, my sister Ashley and I thought they were there for our amusement. I think I was about five years old and Ashley would have been three when one day we had the "Brownie and "Fluffy" out of their cage and we were playing with them. Ashley loved to hug the guinea pigs, but one day she discovered something new to do with "Fluffy". She began swinging "Fluffy" around by its (I don't remember their genders) little arms and throwing it in the air. To this day no one knows what really happened, was my sister angry at "Fluffy," or I suppose it could have been an accident. Bottom line "Fluffy" wasn't moving by the time she was finished with it. Ashley came to my mom with the lifeless body of "Fluffy" and innocently asked,"whats wrong with "Fluffy"? It stopped moving while I was playing with it." When we get to heaven maybe we'll find out what really happened to "Fluffy", but until then we'll just have to wonder. Was it the curse of the Baker family pets that killed "Fluffy" or does my sister have a hidden rage that comes out when she sees innocent guinea pigs? No one knows...

The Curse of the Baker Family Pets

I’ve long wondered if every family has such terrible luck with their pets. In the last several years I have brought up the topic with many of my friend and even complete strangers. My findings have brought me to conclude that indeed the pets owned by my family have been and still are at a much higher than average risk of experiencing an untimely and/or unusual demise.

Since I was a little boy my family has owned countless pets of a great variety. My family likes animals, and the fact that we lived in a jungle, on an island in the pacific, is largely the reason for their great diversity. As I recall, we have, over many years owned, five cats, three dogs (not including puppies we gave away), two wallabies, four guinea pigs, a half a dozen chickens, two dozen ducks, a cassowary, a cockatoo, a garden snake, and some sort of jungle possum. I didn’t count the many mice that lived cozily in our walls, because we didn’t particularly want them to survive, thought they seemed to flourish despite our many attempts to remove them.

Our first cat (though I’m not sure whether we ever actually owned it per se) ran away before we ever saw it. The cat was on its way into our village with our supply man. He was carrying the cat in a cage on the back of his motorbike. You might find this odd, but I assure you it was quite regular in our world. Anyways, our supply man was almost to our village when he stopped at an adjacent hamlet to talk to some of the people there. He was explaining to his audience that he had some very interesting cargo on the back of his bike and just as he was about to show them the cat he realized there was no longer a cat in the cage. The cat had managed to pry its way out of the flimsy cage and escape into the jungle. Escaping may not be a good word, because the cat probably didn’t survive long in the jungle on it own. I’m sure it became a tasty snack for one of the any number of the larger creators that roam the night.

We considered, when we heard the bad news, that this may be a bad omen for any pet we might own in the future, but we shrugged it off because we don’t believe in bad omens. Maybe we should have, we may have spared many animals lives if we had decided not to adopt another pet.


more to come...