Archive for July, 2014

The Seas are Troubled; the Boat is Stable

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Watch the Show and Relax

I got some more revelation regarding flooding and the Sea of Galilee, so I’ll pass it on.

I don’t think any Spirit-filled Christian will be surprised to hear that the Sea of Galilee symbolizes the earth. We all know that. But more specifically, it symbolizes the hidden nature of the earth: a place created by, and controlled by, words, or if you look at it differently, voices. A word has power when it’s spoken, not when it sits hidden in a book, so it’s more or less equivalent to equate words and voices in the context of the supernatural.

The world is full of voices that are useless and counterproductive. Any voice that doesn’t serve God is evil. It may not be intended for evil, but anything that doesn’t advance God’s agenda is evil. There is nothing neutral.

Jesus appeared to the disciples–I never know whether I should capitalize that word–when they were in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. The waves were high, and the disciples were afraid. This symbolizes the situation people find themselves in when they are at the mercy of the voices that run the world. They’re like little boats in high seas. They can’t do much to protect themselves or steer a course. Paul used this metaphor to describe people who were blown off course by bad doctrine.

Jesus walked on the water while it was still in turmoil. What does that mean? It shows that a person who is walking in God’s authority is above the power of evil voices. Circumstances are not relevant. They can’t touch a person who is in God’s will, unless God chooses to let them do so. When Jesus was crucified, it was by his own consent, and he kept quiet, because his words had the power to prevent it.

The waves actually supported Jesus. Words that are intended for evil will advance God’s plans, and they will help the Spirit-led. God will take the efforts of the damned and make use of them. The effect of this is to turn his enemies into his slaves retroactively. They work hard to defeat God, and when it’s over, they find out that during the time when they thought they were fighting God, they were actually serving him. The Romans thought they were killing Jesus, but in reality, they increased his power and destroyed Satan.

When Jesus entered the boat, the waves died down, and there was peace. When God is with people (“Emanuel” means “God with us”), he preserves them and lifts them above the seas of evil. The ark symbolized this type of deliverance. The disciples’ boat was a picture of the ark, which was a picture of Jesus overcoming the world and delivering his chosen.

I was right to think that using the name of Jesus was like Peter looking to Jesus when walking on the water. That was revelation. We should be flooding the earth all the time, because our flood is stronger than the enemy’s flood. He that is in us is stronger than he that is in the earth. If we don’t use our weapons, we shouldn’t expect things to go well. God gave us certain tools, and we can’t force him to adopt a different plan. We can do things his way, or we can lose.

The Bible says we will condemn every voice that rises up against us, IF we are the servants of the Lord. You can’t condemn by sitting around hoping, or by begging God to do things for you. Condemnation means speaking words against your enemies. It’s an action. Why would we expect to win, if we don’t act?

I think we have probably lost a lot of scripture. Satan loves destroying it. The Nazis burned Torah scrolls. The Catholics prohibited common people from owning Bibles.
Satan is constantly working to erase history. God forbade the Jews to cremate their dead because he knew Satan would tell people they had no archaeological record. God wanted there to be evidence. Satan is behind the Holocaust deniers today; thank God we have film of the camps.

The early church probably produced clearer scriptures than the ones we possess. God hid a lot of things in the remaining books. and Satan is too stupid to understand the code. Now the Spirit-led can read what remains and pull all sorts of instruction and confirmation from it. I believe the stories about the Sea of Galilee are examples of encoded mysteries. When God reveals these things through us, he is laughing at Satan. He is showing that Satan can’t accomplish the simplest of tasks.

God loves the flood metaphor. He used a flood to kill the Egyptian army. It stood up around the Hebrews, as if to honor them, and then it humiliated and overwhelmed the Egyptians. God calls his work inside us “living water.” Over time, it drowns the useless things inside us and waters the good things.

Christians who know God and listen to him are going to get more powerful, and because of that, rage will increase. Don’t be surprised by it. Don’t be rattled. It just means our enemies have been forced to see their impotence. Rejoice in it and don’t appease or retreat. Sometimes they’ll whimper and cry. Don’t pity them or feel bad about prevailing. They can change and join the right side whenever they want. As long as they’re not in the boat, they’re SUPPOSED to suffer. It will drive them to repent, and if not, then they deserve their misery. The alternative is for us to ingest it. Forget that.

When you see these things happening, don’t forget that you were warned, and don’t consider it a negative sign. It is the inevitable result of rebellion and stubbornness in the world. It doesn’t mean things aren’t going right for us. We were not created to be loved by the crooked, filthy world. We were created to conquer it.

I hope this is useful to you. It has certainly been helpful to me.

Get Your Water Wings

Monday, July 28th, 2014

The Air of Heaven is Just a Few Inches Above Your Head

A few years back, at Trinity Church, I was attending a prayer service, and I found myself saying, “Unleash the flood,” over and over. I have learned that when I’m in the Spirit, and I find I have something unexpected to repeat, it’s a word from God.

I wasn’t immediately sure what I was talking about, but then I realized God was referring to prayer in tongues. The church has discouraged it for almost two centuries, because Satan runs the church, and he hates it. To win the battles that are coming, we will have to be complete Christians, and that means prayer in tongues. It will put God’s faith in us, not to mention his other good qualities. It will put his guidance in us. It will cause us to to what he wants, using his power, instead of what we think is right.

Over the last few weeks, I have learned that repeating “in the name of Jesus” when praying or exercising authority can be very powerful. We are taught to ask for stuff and then say “in the name of Jesus,” as if it were a magical phrase that forces God to do what we want. Then we go about our business and don’t really expect anything to happen. And saying something more than once seems bad to us, as if it’s a confession that we lack faith.

In reality, repetition is essential. Yes, Jesus told us to avoid repetition, but he was talking about “VAIN repetition.” You shouldn’t take a prayer someone else wrote 300 years ago and repeat it without meaning or understanding it, just because a priest told you to. We are supposed to TALK TO God. Imagine how you would feel if your son came up to you when he had a problem and he did nothing but repeat an irrelevant prayer a hundred times. How productive would that be? Not very. But there are times when repetition is important. Even God repeats himself. There are examples of Jesus saying things several times.

The word “meditation” refers to repetition. Sometimes you can take a passage of scripture and repeat it thirty times and get a useful revelation out of it. This is why God has instructed us to meditate on his word.

“God’s word” doesn’t just mean the Bible. It means anything he says. If he gives you a word, you should repeat it many times and reflect on it. If “God’s word” only meant the Bible, effectively, God would be muzzled. He would never be allowed to say anything else, because it would not be God’s word. Think how silly that is.

I am able to perceive the supernatural, at least in some regards. One thing I can perceive is supernatural faith moving inside me. This is not my effort, trying to believe. That doesn’t work. It’s the Holy Spirit inside me, believing for me. This is why the Bible says that even faith is “of God.”

I found that sometimes I didn’t feel faith when I used the name of Jesus. I would say, “God, will you please do x, in the name of Jesus,” and nothing would happen. I eventually found that the faith would come if I said, “in the name of Jesus” more than once. And if I said it ten or twenty times, the faith became so strong, it became hard for me to speak. Faith is a substance that comes out through the mouth, and it’s hard to use the mouth for two things at once.

What does this have to do with flooding?

The other day, I saw a parallel between what I was doing and what Peter did when he walked on water. People always say Jesus walked on water. Why is it that we don’t talk much about Peter walking on water? What he did was extremely important, because it showed that we can become like Jesus. We shouldn’t ignore it. He didn’t do it perfectly, but come on. What would happen if you took three steps on water and then sank? You would still be on every news show on the planet. It was a big deal.

When Peter started to sink, he looked at Jesus, and he rose. He was lifted on top of the water, and instead of drowning him, it served him. Like a footstool.

Repeating the name of Jesus works the same way.

There is faith all around us. Unfortunately, most of it is Satanic. We have faith in Satan as the “all-powerful” ruler of this world, even though he’s just a failed angel who will eventually be the lowest, most humiliated creature in existence. We have faith in the power of disease; we believe it won’t go away when we pray. We have faith in circumstances; we believe our problems are so powerful, God can’t fix them. Many of us have faith that God doesn’t exist.

Where does this faith come from? It comes from words. In the Bible, water symbolizes voices and words. All around us, there are people and spirits (and even our own minds) speaking anti-God faith to us. We hear it around the clock. And people curse us and send demons after us, using words. People condemn us. They lie about us. It never stops. Satan and the other agents of negative faith speak constantly, repeating and repeating and repeating. And as Goebbels noted, repetition makes things seem true. It gives them power.

Satan repeats himself all day. He never shuts up. He gets people to do his repeating for him. He gets his messages onto CDs and DVDs so machines repeat them.

How, then, did we miss the importance of repeating God’s truth?

There is symmetry in the supernatural. Every weapon Satan uses was stolen from God. Satan repeats because we are supposed to repeat in order to defeat him.

We are surrounded by a flood of stupid voices. In the Bible, the sea (actually a lake) of Galilee symbolizes this flood-filled world. Just as God flooded the world to kill the seed of the angels, Satan floods the world to drown the Spirit-led.

In the present, Satan has a flood, and God has a counter-flood, but God’s flood has been dammed up by ignorance and false teaching (part of Satan’s flood). When God said, “Unleash the flood,” he was talking about pouring his flood out through the mouths of his children.

Last night, God gave me this word: “I am walking on the flood.”

When I heard that, I understood the connection between Peter and what I was doing. If I pour out God’s flood, I will walk on Satan’s flood. Instead of drowning me, Satan will actually support and help me, through the very works he does to destroy me. He will be my servant and my footstool, and so will his children.

The enemy and his works will drown, and I will float on the flood and profit from it. That which was meant to kill me will kill my enemies and exalt me.

You need to pray in tongues every day, and the amount you pray makes a difference. Remember Goebbels. What works for evil also works for good. Speaking the truth many times is much better than speaking it rarely. You also need to repeat God’s word. If you don’t hear from God yet, repeat scripture. Repeat whatever you know of God’s word. Until you can speak in tongues, speak with your own understanding.

Sometimes when you pray and decree, you will not feel faith. That’s because something is rising up to fight it. When this happens, repeat “in the name of Jesus.” Your faith will increase. This is “waiting on the Lord.” God has promised us that if we wait on him, he will strengthen our hearts. See the Psalms.

When you repeat truth, you will rise above the flood of lies, and God’s power will move. Try it. But make sure you have faith, because without faith, it won’t work. Scripture tells us how to get faith: pray in tongues.

Amazing things are happening in my life and in my character. I am not Jesus. I have plenty of room for improvement. But I am a new person these days, and it did not happen because I made an effort. It’s all God’s supernatural work. And it’s going to continue. I’m going to improve. God wants this for you, too. He didn’t send me to replace Jesus singlehandedly. I am not that important. This is for every child of God.

Nuts to Me

Friday, July 25th, 2014

The 4-Jaw has Landed

I have another machining update. I sometimes wonder if I should put so much of this material up, since some people come here for spiritual stuff. But on his own blog, a blogger is a dictator who answers to no one, so here I go.

My first rotary table was a 10″ Phase II. I wanted something big so I would not run into the tool-user’s curse, which is needing a bigger tool ten seconds after you unwrap the one you just bought. Phase II tables are made to mate with 3-jaw chucks one size smaller, so I put an 8″ chuck on this table. Together, these items weighed so much I could not lift them well enough to move them. At least I don’t think so, because lifting the table all by itself is risky. I don’t think I’ve ever lifted them when they were joined.

Eventually, I decided I had had enough of moving this thing, and I decided to get a 6″ table. Unfortunately, Enco had a great price on 8″ tables, so that’s what I bought. And I bought a 6″ chuck for it, because mating an 8″ 3-jaw chuck to it is virtually impossible.

Had I bought a 6″ table, moving the table and chuck together would not be all that bad, but with the 8″ job, I have to separate them.

Generally, my solution to this problem is to leave the table on the mill all the time. I have not yet had a job big enough to make it necessary to remove the table. The 10″ table was a little annoying, but the 8″ one is reasonably unobtrusive when I’m using the vise.

I can tell you find this post exciting.

One of the aggravating things about having a 3-jaw chuck on a rotary table is that every time you remove the chuck (which is necessary in order to clamp stuff to the table), you have to use a dial indicator on it when you put it back on, to make sure it’s centered on the table. A while back, I got the bright idea of using a 4-jaw table instead. It would be 2″ bigger, because 4-jaw chucks are less annoying to mount, and I would not have to indicate it.

I totally forgot that I would have to indicate EVERY SINGLE PART I put on it. But that’s okay. It can do everything a 3-jaw can do, it holds bigger work, and it allows you to machine irregular parts. You can also machine stuff that isn’t centered, and you can use the chuck as a faceplate if you remove the jaws.


I ordered an 8″ Phase II chuck. It looks fine, but it came with a lot of grit in it, and the machining in the jaws and slots is somewhat crude.

When I asked Phase II if there was an adapter plate for mounting it, they told me there was not. I thought I would have to make one. But the chuck has 4 holes for mounting cap screws, and there are 4 T-nut slots in the table. Measuring carefully, I realized that the slots were juuuuust deep enough to permit mounting the chuck on T-nuts. Problem: the nuts I had are rectangular, and the slots are semicircular at the extreme ends, so the corners on the nuts prevent them from going all the way in. I had to machine the corners off or make new nuts.

I suspected the nuts were hardened, and they were too small to machine easily, so I got out a 3/4″ by 1/2″ bare of 1018 steel and made new nuts. Here is a shot of part of the process. It got prettier later on, but this is my first effort.

07 11 14 making rounded t nuts for 4 jaw chuck on mill

That thing in the collet is a stud. I used it to center the screw holes under the spindle. Later I made a tool from 1/2″ aluminum rod. The end was turned to an unthreaded diameter that fit snugly in the tapped holes. I put the tool in the collet, used it to center the work, clamped everything, and replaced the tool with a 1/2″ cutter.

The job was simple. First I made a long bar of steel with the same cross-sectional profile as a nut. It was 0.700″ wide at the bottom, and it had two shoulders cut into it so it was 0.450″ wide at the top (the name “T-nut” comes from this shape, which is an upside-down “T”).

Then I drilled and tapped several M10 x 1.5 holes through the bar, for the cap screws.

After that, I clamped the bar to the rotary table and machined two radii into the end. I used the band saw to cut the bar into individual nuts. It was a fairly pretty operation. I had to do some filing to get the last few thousandths of necessary clearance, but now I have this:

07 23 14 4 jaw lathe chuck mounted on 8 inch rotab with special nut

You can see one of my round nuts on the table. That’s a crude one I made as an afterthought. It doesn’t have a pretty round end on it like the others.

Under that table, there are two nuts with one hole each and two nuts that have two holes each. I was going to cut them down, but I thought maybe I would get some type of versatility if I had different types of nuts, and it saved me some work, which was probably my primary motivation.

My next project is to make special T-nuts that fit the jaw slots. I have been told this will damage the slots, but I think that’s wrong. I can make them from brass or aluminum, so they’ll be softer than the table, and I can make them long, so the pressure is distributed over a wide area. I got this idea from my 10″ 4-jaw (on the big lathe), which already has faceplate slots cut in it. Granted, these slots are separate from the jaw slots, but I still think my idea will work. It would make it totally unnecessary to remove the chuck when clamping things. If I don’t like the way it works out, I can always make a round, thick aluminum plate, attach it to the chuck through the existing screw holes, and mill or fly-cut it so it’s level. I can mark it so it’s always mounted the same way, and that should give me reliable flatness every time I bolt it on.

Now that this is behind me, I can move on to the assembly of my CNC lathe’s control box (probably the wrong term for it). It will house the power supply, controller and drive board(s).

Stuff is getting done. The backlog is dwindling. Praise the Lord.

CNC Lathe Motors Mounted

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

Send Out the Dancing Girls

Should have appended this to my last post.

Yesterday I stuck the motors on my CNC lathe. The plans called for 10-32 screws, which seems like a bad idea on a metric lathe. I followed the plans, and I ended up with threaded holes bigger than the holes on the motors. In order to pass a 10-32 screw without a lot of slop, you need a hole drilled by a #10 bit, pretty much. That’s the size I chose. I put the motors on the mill with a stop in the vise, and I lined the holes up with the drill chuck as well as possible, and I opened the holes up using my one of my lovely new Harbor Freight HSS drill bits.

The motors screwed right onto the mounts. No problems. Like they grew there.

07 23 14 stepper screwed to x mount with knob mockup

The lathe is virtually done. I have to put a lead screw on it, which is a nothing job, and I also have to install a sensor and two couplers. The knurled knobs need to be opened up a little, and I need to put set screws in them, but that’s very easy.

I did a fine job modifying the lathe, and I even improved a couple of things. Now I’m just waiting for a few parts, including the power supply. I think I’ll start my Meshcam trial on Monday.

If I were starting fresh, I’d use metric stuff for as many items as possible, but it won’t matter.

I am wondering what else can be done with a lathe. What if I had a milling attachment? That could be used for things like broaching. What if I CNC’d the spindle motor? It seems to me that a lathe could do a lot of milly things if it were set up right. I just have to go slow and see what works.

“Please do not Power off or Unplug Your Machine”

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

“Use a Shotgun Instead”

People are commenting on my recent PC upgrade ordeal. There is more to the story.

Yesterday I put the PC back together and got ready to enjoy it. Then UPS delivered the new video card, so I had to take the box apart all over again.

I put a 27″ TV in the garage because my monitor made my eyes hurt, and I wanted to use the HDMI input instead of the VGA input, figuring it might work better. I ordered some sort of Geforce card which would work with my PC. A cheap refurb from Newegg.

When I turned the machine off to open it up, Windows told me I had 15 updates to install. No warning. Just, “Sit down and wait for an indeterminate period.” And of course, some updates installed in a few seconds, and others took forever.

Then the machine started turning on and off. My favorite part was when it said “Configuring Windows – 32% Complete,” then “Welcome,” then “Shutting down.”

I got the silly thing installed, and then when I turned the PC on, I had 800 by 600 resolution, which is pretty awful. Windows 7 didn’t have the right driver. Of course. So I went to the Geforce/Invidia/whatever site to start on the three-minute job of downloading the correct one.

The driver package–I am completely serious–was 221 MB. And the server was not setting speed records. The little speed indication kept changing: “14 minutes remaining’; “11 minutes remaining”; “28 minutes remaining.”

Then I clicked on the download, and while it tried to install, it showed me ads for Nvidia products. Talk about bad timing.

Then the installation failed.

I tried again, eliminating all the choices which seemed irrelevant, and the driver installed.

I could not believe it.

I learned a few things about “new” (probably 2009) video cards. This one does audio as well as video, through one HDMI cable. That’s nice. I was able to disconnect the Y-cable I bought for the audio about three days ago.

I got the thing running, and before I was even done feeling sorry for myself, I found myself in heaven. Good things I had not anticipated were happening.

The wireless mouse and desktop worked over a longer distance than I had realized, so I was able to sit on the garage floor in a backpack chair and run the PC. That was great. And I was able to run Youtube videos in full-screen mode. Bliss. I fired up a series of Tubalcain machining videos and felt the upgrade welts fading.

Here’s a photo:

07 23 14 garage PC with Tubalcain shaper video

Videos are getting so good now, watching Youtube on a large screen is actually a pleasure.

I am still working on quenching the intense malice I feel toward Bill Gates and everyone who has a pocket protector. But other than that, this turned out pretty sweet.

Kill Bill Pt. III

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Gates Must Pay

Over the last few days I upgraded my garage PC to Windows 7, so naturally, in spite of my near-total holiness and renewed character, I am having homicidal thoughts about Bill Gates.

The XP “crisis” was announced a few months back, and I got all excited and bought two copies of Windows 7. Then the drop-dead date passed, and nothing happened, so I procrastinated. I started thinking maybe Microsoft would wise up, in the hope of avoiding massive lawsuits, and continue providing limited support. They seem to be doing that, because I never stopped getting updates.

Anyway, with the CNC lathe nearly finished, I figured it was time to do something. I don’t want to set a PC up for CNC and THEN upgrade.

Elsewhere, I described my experience thusly: “Upgrading my computer’s OS was like being dragged naked over broken glass in hell behind a flatulent donkey with a boombox on its back playing ‘La Macarena,’ which is to say, relatively painless compared to previous upgrades.”

I guess that’s accurate. It was horrible, but survivable.

Microsoft–this will shock people–really screwed up the entire process. I can provide details to help other people who are stupid enough to upgrade.

First, you need the upgrade compatibility tool from Microsoft. It’s free. You run it, and it examines your PC carefully, sends all your personal data to the NSA, and then fails to tell you about all the things that will go wrong when you upgrade. It pretends to tell you, but it misses things. Run it anyway so you can tell people to shut up when your upgrade fails and they start yammering about the compatibility tool.

Second, you need to find out whether your existing programs, for which you probably paid several thousand dollars (unless you’re a typical software thief), will run under Windows 7. If you don’t have time to do this, I’ll help you: they won’t. It’s just way too hard for a hundred thousand overpaid software engineers to make advanced software that is capable of running more-primitive programs. And if it happens to make Bill Gates more money, by forcing people to buy new versions of Office, well, that’s just a coincidence.

I upgraded my ancient PC, and it ran fine, and then Windows 7 told me it wanted nothing to do with my ethernet card. So I had a problem that could best be fixed using the Internet, and the one thing it prevented me from using was…the Internet.

This PC was free, and the motherboard’s LAN port blew out early in its career, so there was a Netgear card in there. And Netgear had a patch to make it run with Windows 7. Laboriously, I moved the patch from another PC to this PC, and it did absolutely nothing but get my hopes up and waste my time.

By the grace of God, and for no reason I can now guess, I had a totally unneeded LAN card in my main PC, so I stole it, put it in the garage PC, and succeeded in getting connected.

Then the PC started quitting and refusing to start.

This is how computers are. A computer never has one problem. It always has a bunch of problems, all at once, that are unrelated, yet which work in synergy to destroy your will to live.

I went all through the stupid thing. I put in a day of work. I checked connections. I messed with the “on” switch. I got it going. Everything was fine. I left the room. I came back. The computer was off.

Eventually it occurred to me that the power supply might be hinky. In order to test it, I took it out, removed the cover, and electrocuted myself. That was actually unintentional and provided little useful data, but I did do it.

Today I drove to Tiger Direct and got a new power supply. I plugged it in, and the PC went insane, because I had moved some jumper or other. When I finally got it going, it told me it had 168 crucial Windows updates to apply. That was like an hour ago, and I think it has installed 3.

Windows 7 is actually pretty good. When I say that, I feel like a cancer survivor saying dysentery is pretty good. But it’s really not bad. I had always thought that 7 was Vista, which is three levels worse than cancer, but it turns out it’s just XP with fewer landmines.

I still haven’t installed my more-expensive Windows programs. I am positive Finale won’t work, based on the fact that I really like it and want it to work.

Windows 7 has a fairly stupid way of making SOME random programs (i.e. not the ones you care about) work. They don’t tell you this when you install it. You have to download and install a continent-sized program called XP Mode. Then XP Mode disappears, and you can’t run it. That’s because you didn’t install Virtual PC, which Windows didn’t tell you about, when you installed XP Mode. So now you have to install Virtual PC, which takes another year and a half.

When you get all that done, you MAY be allowed to install your old program, in a fake XP window.

Or not. And if the answer is “not,” and you have to buy more programs, giving other billionaires just like Bill Gates even more of your money, well, that’s just a coincidence.

Now my PC is lying on its side with the updates running (or not), and I can’t put it back together until it gives me the go-ahead.

If you try this yourself, may God be with you, because Microsoft definitely will not.

CNC Lathe: Electronics on the Way

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Progress Report From the Crazy Neighbor Who Never Leaves the Garage

The CNC project is moving along well.

Because the machined parts for adapting the lathe are mostly done, I’m thinking about electronics and software. I will write what I’ve learned and concluded. Some of it is surely wrong, but for someone else in my position, coming along later, it will be a lot better than nothing.

First of all, if you’re doing CNC, you should join the Home Shop Machinist board. There are other forums that are useful, but if you’re starting at the bottom, they are likely to ignore you. I have a CNC Zone account, and it’s nearly useless. HSM is friendlier.

Here is my understanding of the way a home-grade CNC machine works. You need 1) a PC, 2) an external controller, 3) a board that drives stepper motors, and 4) stepper motors.

Some people do not use external controllers. Based on what I’ve read, I think that approach is only worth discussing if you want to dedicate an entire PC to nothing–and I mean nothing–but controlling a machine. If you use your PC for music or the web while you work, it will interfere with the CNC machine, and you’ll hate life. So I am ignoring this option, and I know little about it.

The external controller takes output from the PC and turns it into signals that the stepper motors like, if I understand it correctly. Then the drive board turns these little signals into big ones that go right into the motors and make them run. Your PC’s ports can’t do that. The motors need too much juice.

To make the controller and drive run, you’ll need a power supply for them. Actually, I believe you’ll need more than one, because one powers the motors, and the other will power the computerized stuff in the boards. The voltages for this stuff–which nerds refer to as “logic”–are lower than the voltages for the drive.

If you can’t stand the thought of having your machine close to the PC, you will want an ethernet-based system. It will let you have long runs with ethernet cable. Otherwise, you’re stuck with USB. I’ve heard limiting distances described as 5 feet, and I’ve also heard 16 feet. I don’t know which is correct. I would assume that the limiting distance is between the PC and the box with the controller and drive, since the wires that go to the steppers are ordinary 4-conductor jobs with a decent amount of current flowing through them.

If you want ethernet, you will have to use a Smoothstepper drive. Sadly, it only works with Mach3 software, so if you hate Mach3 (many people do), you will be SOL. For this reason, I chose USB.

The USB solution I chose was a Dynomotion rig. They make the Kflop controller and the Kstep drive. These boards are made for each other, and they can be connected with one ribbon cable. They are sized so you can mount one on top of the other. You can run 4 motors from one Kstep, and you can screw another Kstep on top of it for four more motors. You can use other drives, but they aren’t going to be plug-and-play with the Kflop.

With Dynomotion, you don’t have to use Mach3. I guess I should say what Mach3 is.

To design a part, you may want to use CAD software, although you don’t have to. It will allow you to draw the part, with all the measurements. Then you feed this to CAM software, which turns it into something stepper controllers can eat. That something is called “G-Code.” It’s a language, like Pascal or Basic. I don’t really know how this works, but I think it will show you the path the tool will take during the operation you’re planning, and you can check it over and see if it makes sense. There are also G-Code editing programs, which are sort of like Turbo Pascal. They’re word processors for G-Code, and I believe they also compile it. Compilation is the process of turning written code into programs.

If you are a true uber-geek, you can bypass a lot of this stuff and just write the G-Code, but I think you have to give up diurnal life and sleep in a closet, hanging upside-down. I don’t think normal human beings can do it.

CAM (Computer-Aided Manufacturing) software is hideously expensive, with $1500 programs considered cheap, but there are free options, and there is a $250 program called Meshcam which is popular with unsophisticated users. They have a 15-day trial, which I plan to sign up for after the machine is running.

Mach3 comes after the CAM software, and it talks to the controller. Mach3 is user-friendly, and it has tons of users who have built up a big knowledge base, but many people complain that it’s buggy and ruins a lot of parts. Sometimes CNC doesn’t work, and when that happens, you throw out expensive metal, and you may have to jump to prevent a machine crash. The negative things I’ve read about Mach3 convince me that I should try to avoid using it.

Dynomotion makes a free product to get people free from Mach3. It’s called KMotionCNC. I am hoping I can make it work.

I know zippity-doo-dah about computer programming, having taken precisely one course over twenty years ago, but I believe G-Code is based on C, because CNC people keep saying “C” when they discuss it. In any case, you have to be able to do a certain amount of programming in order to survive, because none of this stuff is really ironed out well enough to trust.

I downloaded a free G-Code editor called RapR3D. I don’t know if it’s any good, but I’m sure it will suffice to get the basics into my head, and that’s all I’m after at the moment.

I have a Kflop, Kstep, and power supply on the way.

Power supplies are extremely confusing. The motors are generally rated for between 2 and 5 amps per phase, and the voltage ratings are below 10, but you are expected to use power supplies with output voltages up to 25 times as high as the motors’ rated voltages. This is normal. The motor specs will not tell you how high to go. I ordered motors that go around 3 amps, and I have chosen a 48V power supply. I know it will work. Other people have used it. You want a lot of voltage. It makes the motors jump around better.

How do you determine the amount of current you need? You multiply the current rating by the number of motors, right? Right. If you listen to people who don’t know anything. In fact, you don’t need to go higher than 2/3 of this number. People will argue about this, but they’re wrong. The motors will draw less than the rated amount of current, because you will be “microstepping.” That means that instead of going a full step with every pulse of juice (1.8 degrees), you will move through a smaller angle, or “microstep.” The motor will produce less than the rated torque, but that’s okay, because you don’t need the rated torque. If everyone else is using 300 oz-in motors for your application, you can use them, too. You don’t need to know exactly how much torque you’re getting. Does the machine run? If so, you have enough torque.

I would like to have a second machine on my system, and that would be a mill. It could have as many as 4 motors, making a total of 7, including the lathe. I can do that if I get a second Kstep board. But I’ll need current for 4 big motors, not 2 medium-sized ones. The big motors are rated at 5 amps. That means I’ll need 13.33A, or 2/3 of 20A. There is a well-known guy called “Hoss,” and he built a Grizzly G0704 CNC mill. People told him he needed a huge power supply, but he put out a video running three axes simultaneously with a small one, and he never hit 4 amps. He says he would be happy to use a 12.5A supply for five axes. I believe him. He certainly knows more than I do. I ordered a 16.7A supply.

I don’t know why the current draw is so low. Maybe it’s the microstepping, or maybe the current comes in little pulses with breaks between them. Maybe it’s because the voltage is so high, you need less current. But I’m confident that the 2/3 figure is correct. The people at Gecko drives agree.

There are two types of supplies. Regulated (“switched” or “switching”), and linear (“unregulated”). The regulated ones have voltage regulators, and they’re made with flimsier components. Unregulated supplies are supposed to be sturdier, and they have various other advantages which I can’t remember right now. I do know this: switching supplies require fans, and if the fans fail, they fry. Dust–not a rarity in garages–kills fans.

Hoss uses a cheap switching supply in his video, but for me the price difference between regulated and unregulated was about ten bucks, so I went with unregulated. Delivered, it will be $141.00. Was it a waste of money? Probably, but ignorance is expensive, and at this stage, I am ignorant. I want to be safe. I would rather buy one pricey supply than a cheap one that blows up, followed by a pricey one.

I’m going to need a box. I’ll mount the Kflop/Kstep combo in there, along with the power supply. I will need a repurposed wall wart to power the logic circuitry. Wall warts can’t really be hardwired, so I suppose I’ll stick a cheap power strip inside the box and plug the wart and PS into it. That’s easier than trying to cut up a plastic wall wart case.

If things work out, it will go like this: PC >> USB port >> Kflop >> Kstep >> steppers >> cool parts >> joy.

This is not a simple project. The user end of the technology is extremely primitive right now. I told someone my dream was to describe parts orally into my cell phone while driving home, and then to find them finished when I arrived. I was kidding, but anyway, it’s nothing like that. You have to know a fair amount about electronics. You have to learn some programming. You have to be able to debug things you know little about. On top of that, before you begin, you have to be a machinist. But the reward, even at this late date, is that you’ll be a decade ahead of everyone else. I seriously doubt that even 3D printers and routers, which are pretty simple compared to other applications, will be in most home workshops within five years.

It’s turning out to be expensive. I’m sure it will be over a thousand dollars, not including the lathe and tooling. And when it’s over, I’ll have a lathe, which is possibly the least-exciting CNC tool. It’s so unexciting, the vast majority of CNC hobbyists are doing something else. It should be very useful, though. Once you buy a lathe, it takes about thirty seconds to run up against a job you absolutely cannot do without CNC, a tracer, or gears you don’t have.

One nice thing about this is that the first tool is the biggest hump. If I add a mill, I won’t have to buy new software or a new controller. I’ll just need the drive board, a machine, and the steppers.

CNC mills are incredibly cool. Go to Youtube and see. You can make stuff you would not believe.

Someone told me I should have CNC’d the big lathe, because the cost would be similar, and I’d be able to do more stuff. I’m not ready to screw up an investment that big, but it may happen later.

This is where I am today. There are probably about 300 errors in what I wrote, but I’m going forward anyway, because you can’t solve all your problems by theorizing. Eventually you have to have a project sitting in front of you.

My guess is that I’ll be able to make a part by August 17, one month from today. I think that’s a very reasonable goal. I am hoping I’ll be good enough to get practical use from the machine a month after that.

It’s very exciting. I will keep you informed as I go.

Doofus-Proof Drawbar Whacker

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

You Need It

Here is an update on my machining.

I have the parts for my CNC lathe conversion mostly done, and I’m going nuts trying to pick motors, controllers, and so on. I have nothing coherent to say about that. But I do have something helpful for people who–and I know nobody who reads this blog would do this–are absent-minded enough to leave a box wrench on the nut of a milling machine drawbar. The big problem with this is that if you turn the mill on, the wrench spins with the nut, and depending on which way it goes, it will either loosen the drawbar or snap the shear pins inside it. Or, if you have a crappy drawbar with no shear pins, it will spin the drawbar in your taper and mess it up.

I know someone who has a Grizzly mill with a solid drawbar, and he now has grooves inside the taper. Some imbecile left a wrench on my mill’s drawbar (no need to reveal his identity), and when he snapped the pins, all he had to do was order an $18 replacement off Ebay. And he was able to cram a new pin in the old one to make it work until the new one arrived.

For God’s sake, go check your drawbar right now. If it doesn’t have shear pins, get a new one. They’re cheap. If it has pins, you will see their ends through the finish close to the point where the thin part goes into the fat part.

Anyway, a drawbar wrench should be able to perform two purposes: it should tighten and loosen the drawbar nut, and it should also be heavy enough to whack it to make collets and stuff drop out of the taper. I came up with a tool that will do those things AND which can’t be left connected to the drawbar.

I made a cylinder of aluminum with a hex protrusion on one side, to fit snugly in a 3/4″ box wrench. I tapped the hex part for a 1/4″ screw. Then I stuffed the hex into a wrench, added a screw and washers, and I was done. Here are two photos of it being made.

07 15 14 drawbar hammer on rotary table

07 15 14 drawbar hammer assembled on bench

If you’re a machinist, you will appreciate this. Last week I wised up and got a 4-jaw chuck for that rotary table, because a 3-jaw is a really stupid choice. I found I had to make special nuts to hold the 4-jaw on the table, and I have not finished that job. I haven’t really needed the 3-jaw and table for a while, so I had no issues with removing the table to use it to make the nuts. That was like 3 days ago. And today, naturally, I needed the 3-jaw for this job. So I had to put it on the table and indicate it. Isn’t this always how it goes? The minute you break something down, you need it.

Most people use brass for drawbar whackers, but it doesn’t matter. Aluminum works fine.

I haven’t Loctited this thing, because I want to add better washers. I considered machining one, but I really don’t feel like struggling to machine thin work today.

Tubalcain, the machining star of Youtube, has a similar project, but mine is way cooler. He didn’t pretty his up. Mine is chamfered, and the exposed sides were turned on the lathe. His left baby toe knows more about machining than I do, so I feel smug about doing one thing better than he did.

I hate to doink this thing up by using it.

The wrench is a Husky from Home Depot. You may think it’s not important to mention that, but it is. It’s surprisingly hard to find a long 3/4″ open wrench that isn’t offset.

Walk if You Want; I’ll Ride

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Either the Bible is True or it Isn’t

Something I wrote today:

Last week, I got a word from God, and it was simply this: “I’m going to be all right.”

A few years back I took Jesus at his word and pretty much gave up planning for my future. I decided to wait for him. I knew God was faithful, but worry still came to me, and other people, thinking they were being helpful, fanned the flames.

Remembering the many times God had shown me he would not drop me, I refused to be moved, but my sense of security was not perfect. The word God sent me helped me become stable.

Because I trusted, my future is planned, and it’s not a foolish plan from the mind of man. Family, money, health, activities…it’s all laid out before me like a highway, waiting for me to walk forward and possess it.

The Jews have a saying: “Man plans; God laughs.” I will not let unbelief cause me build a rickety, crooked track for my life.

Not Every Person who Faints in Church is a Prophet

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Sometimes it’s all YOU

Something I scribbled earlier today.

Stuff the Holy Spirit didn’t actually tell you:

1. A person who finds you completely unattractive is destined to be your one true love.

2. You are supposed to vote for liberals who support abortion and homosexuality, because forced redistribution of wealth is exactly the same as freewill giving.

3. God made you gay, and he thinks it’s fabulous.

4. You need to scream a lot in church, because God loves noise.

5. If a church is really big, it proves the pastor is right about everything.

6. The person who lies on the church floor the most is the holiest.

7. The church volunteers who asked you to stop parking in the pastor’s space were sent by the devil and lack discernment.

8. Other people will pay your tithes and offerings. God is so impressed with you, he is giving you a pass.

9. God wants you to keep working as a stripper because he made the human body, and you meet so many people who need to hear the gospel.

10. It’s okay to move in with your boyfriend, because in the eyes of God, you’re already married.

11. Borrowing money you can’t repay is “stepping out in faith,” especially if you use it to buy a ridiculous, tacky church building the size of a shopping mall.

Share my Joy Whether You Like it or Not

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Clearly Superior to Other Children

New photos of the godson, plus one of the goddaughter.

First, Noah:

07 07 14 noah blue blanket 01

07 07 14 noah blue blanket 02

Second, Gabriella:

07 06 14 gabriella at new dawn

I have been helping Gabriella practice saying “NO!”

I am Management

Monday, July 7th, 2014

Let Labor do the Sweating

So often, God shows us things that are obvious, and we are amazed. He can even amaze us by telling us things we already know. I guess that means we’re stupid, but there it is.

This country has spiritual termites. We have lots of erosive, chronic problems because we don’t honor and serve God. Our wealth is decreasing, our liberty is decreasing, and the power of our enemies is increasing. We try to fix these things by making political donations and casting votes. Some of us blog and write books. It doesn’t work very well. But we have weapons that do work, and we choose not to use them.

I have learned that I can speak defeat to individuals that plague me. You may not believe it. If you develop your faith and try it, you will see that I’m right. If you deal with bullies, abusers, trashy neighbors, bad bosses, snotty kids, or other people whom you can’t seem to beat or change, you can cut the legs out from under them by speaking defeat to them in the name of Jesus AND believing in your heart that it works. And of course, you have to speak defeat to the spirits that back them against you.

What’s the obvious thing I didn’t point out here? It’s simple. There is no real difference between your cheating husband or backstabbing coworker and the president of the United States or the Supreme Court. You can speak defeat to powerful people you don’t know. They don’t have special protection.

The Supreme Court is nine individuals. If you lived next to nine idiots who always threw their dogs’ poo into your yard, and you believed in the principle of speaking defeat to enemies, you would have no problem believing you could put them to flight by using the power of the tongue. Why, then, would you think nine people in Washington would be any different?

They’re not.

The president and the Supreme Court have been throwing poo into our yards for a very long time. We don’t have to accept it.

I know the traditional answer is to ask God to give you victory. That’s fine, but it’s not the entire arsenal. If you aren’t active in your own right, you’re not doing what we were put here to do. You are likely to fail.

People love to say, “God is in control.” Sure he is. But six million Jews were slaughtered anyway. Over fifty million unborn babies have been murdered in the US since Roe v. Wade. A tsunami hit Southest Asia and killed all sorts of innocent people. If God is in control, why did these things happen?

God didn’t let them happen. We did. He put us here to rule the earth for him, using power he provides. Very few of us are doing it, so the earth is a mess.

The Bible is confusing to people who don’t have supernatural revelation via the baptism with the Holy Spirit. It tells us wonderful things, but we don’t understand them. One of the things it tells us is that what we say and believe matters more than what we do. This is reflected in passages such as, “the righteous shall live by faith,” “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit,” and “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Here’s another one: “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God.”

The “Word of Faith” movement got ahold of this concept and twisted and abused it until it sounded like heresy and foolishness. But it’s true.

Look at the situation in the Middle East. That all started with a few sentences spoken by a blind old man. Isaac gave Jacob and Esau their blessings, and he foretold the struggle between their descendants, and over a billion people are bound by those words today.

Word of Faith people got in trouble for pushing a doctrine characterized as “name it and claim it.” They believed in the power of the tongue, but they weren’t getting a lot of guidance from the Spirit, so they focused on things like money, power, and fame. That made blessing and cursing look stupid. But the concept is Biblical. Jesus cursed a tree, and it dried up. He commanded the wind. Elijah cut off the rain. If you’re connected to the Holy Spirit, and you do his will and not just your own, it does work. And we are expected to do it.

The earth is like a company (or, as the Bible says, a vineyard) which belongs to an absentee owner. God sends his servants to run the place. He created us to be management, not labor. Managers use their hearts and minds more than they use their hands. When Adam lost his authority, one of the curses was hard work. He was no longer a manager; he was a slave. The baptism with the Holy Spirit reverses that curse and restores authority.

Here are some things I speak defeat to just about every day:

Some stuff I spoke defeat to today:

1. Obama and his administration. Their constant work against Israel and the body of Christ has to be stopped. Prayer isn’t enough.

2. Homosexuality. We should not be running from people who are slaves to a sexual compulsion.

3. Feminism. Many women have to work, and they should be paid fairly, but the feminist establishment is also bound up in removing men as the leaders and priests of their homes, and it supports promiscuity. It also discourages marriage and teaches men they don’t have to buy rings in order to get sex. If you’re a 40-year-old spinster, thank the feminists.

4. The Supreme Court and all our federal courts. Bad decisions make slaves of the righteous. Why do we sit back and let it happen?

5. Illegal immigration. We don’t have to have a complete loss of border control in order to have compassion and bring good people to America. Deuteronomy 28:43-44.

6. Convenience abortion. Our president says girls can’t live their dreams unless they are free to kill the babies they conceive. And the industry is geared toward destroying the black race. What dream is he talking about? The abortion mills have succeeded where the Klan has failed, and they got the victims to pay for it.

7. The IRS. Obama and his party are using it to take control of our lives and to punish believers.

8. Professional sports. Idolatry at its best. People actually stay home from church to watch strangers play children’s games.

9. The entertainment industry, including movies, TV, music, books, and even Internet porn. They have way too much power to corrupt.

10. The press. They ridicule and marginalize us constantly, and they slander Israel every day.

11. Religious leaders who teach against the Holy Spirit, tongues, and miracles. They serve the spirit of Antichrist, no matter how often they use the name of Jesus.

On some days I speak defeat to both political parties before the body of Christ. The GOP is better than the Democrats, but it’s still messed up. Gay activists and Muslims want to assume control. I speak defeat to Grover Norquist and his crowd from time to time.

Does it work? Well, I started recently. I can only speak for myself; I have no idea who else is doing it, or I would name them. Since then, Obama has racked up some surprising losses. His popularity plummeted. He also lost several pivotal cases in the Supreme Court. Can I take credit for these things? No, that goes to God. But I do believe I was part of it. I felt faith flowing through me as I spoke.

Let me suggest you try it, if you have the faith. And if you don’t have the faith, speaking in tongues is the way to get it, according to the Bible.

Perry Stone once cautioned people not to take on big spirits. He said he knew of preachers who, on their own initiative, would stand up and curse huge evils, like the spirits that ruled entire cities. He said they got in trouble. God didn’t back them, the spirits rose against them, and soon their ministries had problems. They would get caught in sex scandals or whatever. I used to think that this meant I could only use the power of the tongue on small issues. But now I realize I was wrong. The question isn’t how big the problem is. There are only two important considerations: did the Holy Spirit tell you to do it, and do you have enough faith to pull it off? If you can say “yes,” then there is nothing that can defeat you.

The problems this nation faces will not go away just because of American exceptionalism, hard work, or time-wasting squabbling. God will not let us win until we do things his way. So I’m trying hard to avoid using hopeless carnal tools.

This is how I plan to live the rest of my life. I do not want to sweat and lose any more. I do not want to rely on my own power. If it ever stops working, I’ll quit. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Illegal Aliens of the Soul

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Rebuild the Walls

I had an interesting exchange on the web today, and I think I’ll take a few minutes to write about it.

First of all, my church is going nuts. God is really, really moving. Preachers like to stand in front of churches and talk big about the things God will do for the people, but usually, nothing happens. At my church we are seeing FOLLOW-THROUGH, which is a big paradigm change.

My pastor taught us things about speaking things into existence and so on, and I’m not even sure he totally understood it himself, but I started applying it, and as I have written before, problems started collapsing before me.

I taught a few other people about it, and suddenly, folks are putting it to use (just from seeing my testimony; I had nothing to do with it), and they are coming back with stories of favor and power. It’s working. This is what it means to be “seated in high places with Christ.” It means we don’t just ask God for things. We give orders to the things over which we have authority, and our word, because we are identified with God, does not return to us void.

One of the things I’m learning about is the concept of borders and sovereignty. You can’t have perfect balance with other beings. Either they will invade your sovereignty and disregard your personal borders, or you will exert authority over them and keep them in defeat. This is what being “the head and not the tail” means. When Israel was the head, Solomon ruled with great wealth and military superiority, and his borders were secure. When Israel was the tail, every tinhorn king in the Middle East came in, raided the place, and made the Jewish king, though anointed, a servant.

This concept is true on a national level and a personal level. If you’ve been abused sexually or by violence (maybe that’s redundant), it’s because you’ve been the tail and not the head. Your borders got no respect. No one should ever be able to touch you–not with the tip of a finger–if you have God’s favor and authority. If they’re getting through, it’s because of a problem with your relationship with God.

The discussion I started today had to do with illegal immigration, which is a total collapse of authority and border control. It is supernatural. I said that it was a classic Biblical curse, which is true. The Bible says it’s a curse when “the alien” grows strong among you. It does not mean foreigners are devils, or that the lady who irons your shirt for less than minimum wage should be put in jail. It just means that a curse allows illegal aliens to come here by improper means. If you can understand this, you can apply it to your own life and get victory over people who take advantage of you. I can tell you that it works.

Unfortunately, someone took it the wrong way today and concluded that I was saying he and his family were a curse, because they came here illegally. I think if you read what I wrote above, you will see that I was talking about something else. We ended up in a useless discussion about politics and immigrants, and the valuable point I was trying to make disappeared.

Here are the most relevant verses, Deuteronomy 28:43-44:

The alien who is among you shall rise higher and higher above you, and you shall come down lower and lower. He shall lend to you, but you shall not lend to him; he shall be the head, and you shall be the tail.

I just saw that a few minutes ago, for the first time in months or years. But the Holy Spirit brought it to my mind this morning. It’s a curse which comes from disobedience. This nation has turned from God, so now illegal aliens can march in our streets waving Mexican flags, threatening to take away part of our land. That cannot happen in a country which honors God. And if you turn away from God personally, beings that have interests that conflict with yours will be able to enter your life and do as they please.

This happened to the Jews when the temple was destroyed, in 586 BC and 70 AD. It is happening now in Israel, with the disgusting, suicidal efforts to give land to the false “Palestinians.” It’s the reason for rape, molestation, and bullying of all types. It is surely the reason for disease, which comes from hostile organisms that OCCUPY us, to use a word that has become very familiar.

These days I speak defeat to our country’s chronic defeats, and illegal immigration is one of them. I speak defeat to the people who support it. We will always want immigrants, but we have the right and the obligation to choose them ourselves, as stewards of the land. Otherwise, terrorists and criminals will keep walking in through Arizona, and one day, we will see something as bad as, or worse than, 911.

I speak defeat to the people who take advantage of me, and as I have written before, it works. It may sound crazy, but they actually seem to get depressed and angry. Tough. If someone has to eat their garbage, it should be them, not me. I’ve had plenty already.

Pray in tongues. Develop supernatural faith. Speak defeat to your enemies and to God’s enemies. Speak defeat to those who want to pull down this Christian nation, as well as Israel. Don’t tell me it doesn’t work. You will come back with a testimony.

Quit sweating and struggling in the political system. Work in the supernatural system and take it easy.


I should add one more thing. I don’t know if it’s in the Bible, but I have seen another curse manifest itself in families, and it also manifests itself in nations. In my family, a dribbling imbecile chosen at random will get more respect than a relative with college degrees and a record of common sense. My grandfather would listen to strangers before he would give credit to his own children, and my dad is the same way. My IQ is somewhere over 150, and I have a physics degree and a law degree, but when I tell him things that are obvious, he refuses to believe them. Then some fool with no high school diploma will agree with me, and suddenly, I’m right!

The same thing applies to nations. Right now, an illegal alien can vote without presenting ID. They can enter and leave the country without problems, and the Border Patrol will actually help them. No one tracks them. No one makes them pay taxes. No one surveils them. But what about us? What about the children of the nation itself? For years, our own public “servants” took naked photos of us before letting us get on planes. They still put citizens on “no fly” lists without explanation or notice. There are sensors along every highway that record our movements. All of our emails are stored. Our phones are tapped.

It’s the same principle. Those who should be privileged are humiliated, and those who should be monitored and controlled are free to do as they please. They have the favor we’re supposed to have.

To people without discernment or revelation, this will make no sense, but to others it will be very obviously true.

I want my favor and my birthright back. How about you?

Into the Forest of Stumps

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

When did Miami get so Beautiful?

I went to Tennessee over the weekend to bury my dad’s older sister. I’m not sure she was actually buried, though. The funeral home screwed up and failed to have her cremated on time, and I don’t know whether they got the situation fixed. It’s amazing that they would do that, but there you are.

She was 84; two years older than my dad. I didn’t know her terribly well. I saw her a few times during my life, but there were no Christmas gifts or birthday cards, and until this weekend, I couldn’t name all of her kids.

When I was a child, my mother told me that during the early years of her marriage, she had been shocked at how distant my dad’s people were. She claimed my dad’s mother–I don’t think of her as my grandmother–told her that relations with my dad were so unpleasant, they didn’t want to stay very close.

This weekend I reunited with a cousin I last saw–I am fairly sure–in about 1968. I know I saw one other one not long after 1970, because I remember him mentioning the movie M*A*S*H as a recent thing, and it came out in that year.

I also saw my dad’s other sister this weekend. I believe I last saw her in around 1990.


Sadder still, my dad and I were the odd ones out. His sisters stayed in touch, and their kids knew each other well. They have a lot of shared memories. Trips. Gatherings. We don’t know much about it. They talked about holidays and vacations past, when they did this and said that. My dad was able to keep up with them about the distant past, as in 1931-1956, but that was about it.

She died from a stroke, if I understand things correctly. She started having them some time back. She became forgetful. She said things over and over. She became demented. In February, she had to go to a home, and then she started speaking gibberish.

Like my dad, she was very overweight. I think that probably caused the strokes and dementia, but I’m no doctor.

My aunt was married to a Mormon, and when they married he had several kids of his own. I only connected with one member of the flock, back during the Vietnam War. She was a little older than I was, and we were not related by blood. My aunt could be a challenging person to get along with, and she and her husband were very hard on the kids, making them work constantly and maintaining harsh discipline. My cousin was quiet and gentle. I think we got along well because we were easygoing people with parents who were could be unpleasant.

I did not want to go to Tennessee this weekend. I was not needed. When my mother died, only two of these people showed up, and that was more than I had expected. I would not have made this trip but for my dad, who is not really up to the task of planning and executing a long trip alone. I truly dreaded going. I was worried about my house being robbed, and I had to move mountains to get the burglar alarm fixed. Then a garage side door turned out to be rusted out, and I had to take a grinder to the hinges. I had to have locks changed. Lots of aggravation and no reward.

My dad wanted to go from Tennessee to Kentucky, to see the town where he grew up. I have no connection to this place at all, except that it reminds me of the appalling and unnecessary deficiencies of my childhood. To make him happy, I agreed to go with him. We would be at the service in Tennessee on Saturday and then drive to Kentucky on Sunday. On Monday, back to Atlanta to catch our flight. If you add up the road hours, you will see why I was not pleased.

My aunt’s funeral was in Oak Ridge, and we got into town after 9 p.m. I had driven us up from Atlanta. I was beyond exhausted. The trip was tiring, and God had awakened me to pray in the morning, which cost me two hours of sleep. After some argument, I agreed to go to my uncle’s house and see the family. I would not get to bed until 12:30, and I knew everyone would be agitating to get started early the next day.

My dad was startled to see how his other sister and her husband looked. She was using a walker, and her hands shook. Her husband just looked old, and at his age, he had a right to.

I was as cheerful as humanly possible, and I waited for them to start giving us hints to leave. My cousin came over and talked to me, and she gave me information about my aunt.

When her issues started, they were just like the problems my dad has now. Asking the same question several times. Forgetting recent events. Confusion. And she would not go to a doctor. She and my uncle were in denial. Maybe a doctor would have put her on a diet or done bariatric surgery. We will never know. But when I talked to my cousin, I realized I was getting close to the beginning of a rocky road.

To keep from going crazy, I went outside and called the Holiday Inn and got a separate room, and I went to sleep in peace. God awoke me again, and I did what I was supposed to do and did not complain. I prayed. I blessed. I cursed. I decreed. Then peace returned, and I slept. I moved the alarm clock back an hour and a half. If they had to wait a little longer for me, they would get over it.

Breakfast was revolting. They had those weird scrambled eggs that have no variation in color, plus turkey sausage. I got a piece, thinking it couldn’t be that bad. I was wrong. It was that bad and then some. I can’t believe people eat that garbage.

While I was choking it down, my dad announced that he didn’t want to go to Kentucky any more. I got on the cell phone and moved our flight. God be praised. I felt like a runaway slave. I can’t remember ever being that happy.

At the funeral, my dad spoke, and then people related funny stories about my aunt. I had one or two, but they would not have flattered certain people.

Looking at the plastic beer-coolerish container which may or may not have contained her ashes, I thought about my aunt’s final destination. I have no illusions about it. She went to a Mormon church, but she didn’t buy into it, and even if she did, Mormons don’t receive salvation because they believe it comes by works. She and my uncle told the preacher or priest or whatever that they didn’t believe, and he suggested the keep going, just for the social life.

While we were at my uncle’s house, somehow the subject of American Indians came up, and my cousins started making sly references to their “real” origins. The Mormons believe they sailed to America from Israel. Of course, that’s a load of hogwash, and the Indians have no genetic relationship with the Jews, beyond what every human being has. When I heard them talking, I realized they were very serious about their heretical religion, their parents’ unbelief notwithstanding. Disturbing. I was looking at a poisoned field.

I don’t know why I had to go on the trip. Maybe it was God’s way of showing my dad his future. Maybe he wanted someone to pray for my cousins. All I know is, for the first time in my life, I was overjoyed to be headed for Miami.

At my uncle’s house, while I was talking to the clerk at the Holiday Inn, I heard myself say, “I’m never going to see these people again.”

My mother’s people are my family. When my dad talks about my mother’s father, he slips and calls him “your father.” My dad’s relatives seem nice, but I couldn’t pick most of them out of a lineup. His mother never called when I was a kid. We didn’t hear from his older sister much unless she wanted something. When his mother died, the other relatives cleaned out her house and gave us two items they selected, and my dad got the funeral bill. I didn’t attend. Nobody expected me to.

A while back, my dad tried to get me to go to a family reunion, and I refused. I reminded him of my age. I said, “It’s too late,” and, “I don’t know those people.” My remaining aunt and uncles will be dead in five years. I barely know their kids. My other relatives on that side are even more distant. There aren’t enough crumbs in the bottom of the bag to make shaking it worth the effort. I felt that I was being asked to go and put on a show of false love for strangers. To pretend that we hadn’t screwed up, back in the Sixties, Seventies, and Eighties.

We screwed up. Some people would lie to themselves about it, but I won’t. We flushed whatever chance we had to be part of that family, and that was fine by them.

I’m glad the trip is behind me. I don’t expect to see anyone in my dad’s family again, except possibly when he dies. He isn’t leaving them anything, so they won’t be involved in his estate. I’m glad I know them, but there isn’t much there to build on.

My life is so different from the ones it intersected with this weekend. God is showing me joy and power. He is teaching me things, and other people are learning them from me, and they are starting to put these things to use and come back with startling testimonies. I don’t consider the earthly obstacles in my path the way I used to. These days, they fall. But my relatives keep grinding away, pushing the same rock up the same hill every day and expecting very little for the effort.

I understand what Jesus meant when he said that believers were his family. People who can’t see the light are tuned to a different channel.

I am going to look for a strategy to deal with my dad’s upcoming challenges, and I am going to work to get myself out of this city. I can’t save everyone, but I can help a few people, and I can look after myself. I hope I never fly into Miami again. I have seen as much of it as I need. This has been a pivotal month. For me, it’s a sharp upward turn. For others, it’s the crystallization of a course that leads nowhere.