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Biblical Interpretation
 Shovel Shack : Biblical Interpretation
Subject Topic: Spiritual gifts
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Tim P
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Posted: Mar-25-07 at 4:54am | IP Logged  

Friends,

For the past two weeks I have heard a good friend teach about spiritual gifts in a class at the church we attend.  Thiis is not the first time I have heard teaching on this subject over the years.  I have even taken a spir. gift inventory or two.  But I am beginning to wonder a couple of things,

  1. How important is it, really, to know what spiritual gift we might have.
  2. Is the whole discussion and search truly edifying?
  3. Is it necessary to know what are gift might be in order to minister to others more effectively?

I'd appreciate your thoughts.  Frankly, I did not walk away from the class today feeling very encouraged.

Tim

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the shovel
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Hello Tim,

Wow, this brings back memories as it was a regularly rotated course at my Bible College and in a few church groups I attended during and after that. I fully understand why you may not have been encouraged because of it. The validation for this premise is Biblical, which simply means that one can use Scripture to back up the concept. It doesn't mean, however, that the practice we've established has anything to do with the meaning in Paul's letters. For his words didn't suggest taking any kind of "spiritual inventory" or to "discover your spiritual gifts". Instead, he referred to something that had been obvious among those he wrote to, encouraging them to continue in the very expressions of life they had already exhibited among the group. It's just like with anything else, we have turned the expression of God into a formula by our attempts to dissect, identify and categorize the miracle.

Now, I'm sure that many who teach these classes believe they are carrying out that which is important to God. They may be desperately struggling to increase a sense of community among groups that lack such interaction. I mean, how many groups have any of us been part of that have little to no real interaction? I realized way back as a teenager that whatever Christianity was supposed to be that it ought to have some real connection other than just showing up and getting together for the sake of form. This is one reason why we've searched the Bible for programs and teachings, for we want to create some reality and then "pass it on". Here we are with life blossoming all around us and yet we resort to methods of duplication in an attempt to clone the life, and then wonder why our clones don't seem to perform as we had expected.

I found no edification by participating in those classes either. I knew that my examination would surely produce poor results (at least in view of what I had hoped I might discover). I would only discover how lacking I was. I sensed the exhilaration/desperation in the air around me through the comments as to gifts or lack thereof that were being "discovered". Mostly, I didn't want to know because I didn't want to discover that I might be a failure in what I thought God would expect. And to be honest, it really came down to my own expectations, for if God approved of me then perhaps I could approve of me.

It has only been through the revelation of my true life in Christ that I began to recognize the expression of God that had been expressing itself through me even in the midst of my own dissatisfaction and disappointment with myself.

Jim


      

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Joyce
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Tim,

I almost said this in a previous post, but will say it here.... It is so good to have you here and present these questions on this forum.  I just appreciate so much your honesty of heart in all these things.  It is worth so much... and questions that many of us have probably had, or have after you question them.  Just wanted to thank you for that.

I concur with both you and Jim in all of this.  Have been through the same types of classes.  Someone though in the midst of it all had said something that has always stayed with me.  It was two things:  One being that with all of us having the "all" of Christ within us, we all have the potential at any particular time for ANY of the gifts to come through us.  The second comment was that... as we live in Him, and He lives through us, they will be demonstrated whether we know about them, or know what our is.  Life happens and is not programmed.  

My observation too has been that after the "seminar of discovery" was over, everything went back to "normal".  Everyone continued to function in the way they always had been under the structure as it is set up. 

Thanks again.

Joyce  

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luvin
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Tim,

My short version of how I feel, is that it seems to be like they are taking a formula approach to something that should be miraculous!



      

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Xrayspex
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For his words didn't suggest taking any kind of "spiritual inventory" or to "discover your spiritual gifts". Instead, he referred to something that had been obvious among those he wrote to, encouraging them to continue in the very expressions of life they had already exhibited among the group. It's just like with anything else, we have turned the expression of God into a formula by our attempts to dissect, identify and categorize the miracle.

I like this alot.

It's a catergorising people into 'what they SHOULD do' as opposed to just walking out the journey by letting Him do the breathing and the living.

But you know these people wnat to be told what their gifts are so they have a sense of purpose; it's their need to have a job to do and I've been there- really i have. I think these people mean well but that's where they are in the walk; it's a law-based walk, which could be better than walking in the 'adam' heart, but there you go.

I don't go in for much of this stuff



      

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BobB
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the shovel wrote:


 Here we are with life blossoming all around us and yet we resort to methods of duplication in an attempt to clone the life, and then wonder why our clones don't seem to perform as we had expected.



It has only been through the revelation of my true life in Christ that I began to recognize the expression of God that had been expressing itself through me even in the midst of my own dissatisfaction and disappointment with myself.

Jim

I could really relate to these!



      

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Broken Link
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Tim,

As a teenager, I was struggling with what to do with my life. I had just moved out of my dad's house and begun striking out on my own. I stopped by a job counseling service and took an interest survey to help me determine what my interests were (help them sell me an enrollment at the local diploma mill). Imagine my surprise when a year or two later and I'm at church and I'm handed this spiritual gift inventory which operated and was evaluated EXACTLY THE SAME as the interest survey I'd been given by the secular job counseling service!!

You know, I told my mom this the other day on the phone, I'm a jaded cynic. But that's how it happened. No joke. In fact, I believe I still have both surveys somewhere as souvenirs!



Edited by Broken Link on Mar-25-07 at 11:39pm


      

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Tim P
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Friends,

I much appreciate each of your sharings with me.  I especially agree with Joyce on how after all has been said and done, we usually go back to the ways things are.

But I'll tell you what was most disturbing duirn the class yesterday; it is one of the members shared how he felt that he had the gift of knowledge and discernment and how he had used this in a former setting to help get to the root of what was bothering people.  Frankly, I always get a bit nervous when people talk about such gifts.  Not sure why.  Maybe it makes me feel like I probably have some hidden deep problem that can only be discovered by someone with such a gift after he prays over me.  Can anyone relate?

 

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BobB
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Tim wrote:

But I'll tell you what was most disturbing duirn the class yesterday; it is one of the members shared how he felt that he had the gift of knowledge and discernment and how he had used this in a former setting to help get to the root of what was bothering people.  Frankly, I always get a bit nervous when people talk about such gifts.  Not sure why.  Maybe it makes me feel like I probably have some hidden deep problem that can only be discovered by someone with such a gift after he prays over me.  Can anyone relate?

 

 

Ya! You feel like your playing a 'one down' position. Your probably feeling the embarrasment for such a person who needs to project 'rescuer' on the other members of the group. This is because he needs recognition and stroking. OR we might actually believe that he has something we don't and we'll fuss over our own inadequecy.

Next time you feel those feelings, imagine him having a red nose and floppy clown shoes. That will bring new feelings.



      

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sevver
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I honestly don't think that someone is stuck with a spiritual gift.  I think that we should be open to the Spirit and by being open to the Spirit we will be able to do great things through the Spirit.  Without first being ready to be a transmitter if you will, and opening yourself up to God you will never get there.  I have never achieved anything that can be considered a spiritual gift, but I have seen mature-er Christians than me take it seriously, which makes me take it seriously.  I would love to take a class/seminar or whatever on it, and also reallize that I need to dedicate more of my energy to opening myself up to a more personal relationship with Jesus.

      

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Tim P
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Thanks, x-ray.  You wrote,

"I think these people mean well but that's where they are in the walk; it's a law-based walk, which could be better than walking in the 'adam' heart, but there you go."

How do you mean it is a law-based walk for those who want to know what their gift is?

Sevver - You wrote,  "Without first being ready to be a transmitter if you will, and opening yourself up to God you will never get there. "

How do we open ourselves up to God anymore than we have when we received Him?  And how do we know for sure if we are open enough?

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sevver
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Tim P wrote:

Sevver - You wrote,  "Without first being ready to be a transmitter if you will, and opening yourself up to God you will never get there. "

How do we open ourselves up to God anymore than we have when we received Him?  And how do we know for sure if we are open enough?

To be honest, how would anybody know, but I think that it involves being constantly in a prayerful state, and unceasingly open to being prompted by the Spirit.  From what I gather, by spending time alone in prayer, during which you truly ask to be an inspiration to someone, even if they don't have a conversion right ther, even if you just plant the seed.  Then, keep reminding yourself that you belong to God today, and your ultimate goal is to do God's work, constantly be thankful, be empathetic, you should deeply care for EVERYONE, and I believe that if you get a prompting such as, for example, to heal someone, or even to comfort them, then you could lay hands on them.  Or whatever else comes up, if you feel prompted to say what you feel that the Spirit is guiding you to say, then say it. 

 

But, I truly believe that just the act of being openly submissive to the will of God and how he wants to use you to touch lives is the biggest part of it all.  I don't mean submissive in a bad way either, just be aware.  And like the book I just finished by Bill Hybels, Just Walk Across the Room;  watch for an open door.



      

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Tim P
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sevver wrote:

Tim P wrote:

Sevver - You wrote,  "Without first being ready to be a transmitter if you will, and opening yourself up to God you will never get there. "

How do we open ourselves up to God anymore than we have when we received Him?  And how do we know for sure if we are open enough?

To be honest, how would anybody know, but I think that it involves being constantly in a prayerful state, and unceasingly open to being prompted by the Spirit.  From what I gather, by spending time alone in prayer, during which you truly ask to be an inspiration to someone, even if they don't have a conversion right ther, even if you just plant the seed.  Then, keep reminding yourself that you belong to God today, and your ultimate goal is to do God's work, constantly be thankful, be empathetic, you should deeply care for EVERYONE, and I believe that if you get a prompting such as, for example, to heal someone, or even to comfort them, then you could lay hands on them.  Or whatever else comes up, if you feel prompted to say what you feel that the Spirit is guiding you to say, then say it. 

Thanks again for sharing with me your thoughts, sevver.  But I still have difficulty in knowing if I am constantly in a state of prayer, or if I can keep reminding myself that I belong to God today and constantly be thankful.  I don't think I can deeply care for everyone.  What if I can't do these things? 

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luvin
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Then maybye God says thats fine.See you are already perfect in your spirit to Him.Your body may not recognize it in any way but all the requirments are fulfilled in Jesus who lives in you.[my 2 cents]

      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

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HarryTick
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Tim,

It's hard for me to take this subject seriously as it is presented by the two camps (Pentecostal, non-pentecostal). Either I'm just arrogant, or this subject is totally misunderstood. If you ask me, Paul was being "nice" in telling them that they had it all wrong about such "gifts", and really intended to steer them away from it. It would be interesting to see what context generated these passages and what the response was in its context.

I'm certainly injecting a lot of my opinion into this, but I see the whole "this gift and that gift" thing as a distraction and Paul was trying to recage their attention on things that "matter". Probably, because that is my experience, that the whole focus on gifts becomes a focus on me and what I do or don't do versus just living and understanding that whether I do or don't do is up to him anyways.




      

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Bill
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BobB
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It seemed everytime I heard a sermon preached on 'gifts', the whole can of worms would break out at the sermons end. After a sermon on 'order' by the rev, it would end up being the opposite. All kinds of jibberish and people jousting for some type of recognition.  The music, would quietly slow down to the point of bringing the crowd into a trance while muttering, pleading, begging and moaning for a mighty rush of wind. It was the orchestation of mans methods most of the time, through the use of music and the revs soothing voice. Only on occasion did I feel i was seeing something real.

      

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sevver
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I can't say that anything like this has ever broken out at our church.  I think that it would be something to see though, but it just seems odd to me that people would act this way just for the sake of acting that way, if you know what I mean.  I am happy to accept strength when I need it, like when I speak in front of the church, which has thankfully only happened once, but through prayer for strength, I did a wonderful job.  I really cannot say that I would actively pursue tongues or anything odd though, I suppose that if I ever do get to a point in my faith where I am tuned in like that, and it were to happen, it would be awesome.

      

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BobB
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I can't say that anything like this has ever broken out at our church.

As Bill had mentioned about the 'camps', my church was a Glad Tidings Pentecostal, located in a very small town of 5000. Things can get strange in the sticks.

but it just seems odd to me that people would act this way just for the sake of acting that way   

I would compare it with theatre. After the show is done, a big round of applause. I see people seeking some sort of recognition everyday in daily interactions. Some is just more subtle, some more demonstrative.  The mind of Christ reminds me I have all the recognition I need, wrapped up in Him.    This mind will radically change behaviour.       



Edited by BobB on Mar-31-07 at 9:07am


      

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Tim P
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BobB wrote:

  The mind of Christ reminds me I have all the recognition I need, wrapped up in Him.    This mind will radically change behaviour.       

Bob,

I appreciate what you wrote above, for I have been a seeker of recognition for too many years.  I'd appreciate some more insight and help from you or anyone on how find all this in Christ, so that not only my behavior, but my heart will be radically changed.

Tim

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BobB
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I'd appreciate some more insight and help from you or anyone on how find all this in Christ, so that not only my behavior, but my heart will be radically changed.

 Weve all done it. So we find ourselves here, totally accepted by one another because most here have lost bragging rights. Also, when i mention 'behaviour' I simply mean 'change', not necessarily moral, right or wrong, because some of the new behaviour might totally shock us, as it exists outside the realm of sin and death.

All i can say right now is, based but  on your reply, your heart has been radically changed, but your body didn't follow suit, so you have questioned your experience in Christ because you inventoried your behaviour, checked in with the Law of Moses, and then bound yourself up again to it.  You expected  behaviour to be more 'righteous, holy, moral' or whatever we call or think our stuff should look like??? We deny ourselves permission and freedom to live, and experience and even indulge knowing we have righteousness by faith alone. The Lord keeps us.



      

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Connie
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Bob,

what you just shared just so blewwwwwwww me away and I gotta tell you that a revelation came to me:  this isn't MY life!  It's His!  And like you pointed out, we  try to take stock of the flesh and its ways and when they don't measure up, we judge ourselves as having missed HIM.  But it doesn't change anything about what HE did in and for us and through us, it's still HIS Life and he'll do what he pleases with it. 

Tim, I would encourage you to rest in the knowledge that  all is already done.  Your "part", if you will, is to watch and listen according to that new mind set.  You're learning what is being given to you in this moment in time. NOt what you're trying to get.



      

Connie
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Tim P
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BobB wrote:

Also, when i mention 'behaviour' I simply mean 'change', not necessarily moral, right or wrong, because some of the new behaviour might totally shock us, as it exists outside the realm of sin and death.

Thanks again, Bob.  Tell me what you mean by "new behaviour that might totally shock us".  Can you give me specifics?

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BobB
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[/QUOTE]

  Tell me what you mean by "new behaviour that might totally shock us".  Can you give me specifics?

[/QUOTE]

No, I cannot, because you know what has already shocked you, so you have tried to stop it, but couldn't.  The specifics is simply 'living', which at some point we were all afraid to do, because we thought God blushed. I give myself permission to do things that the Spirit in me has allowed. When a door needs to be shut to something, make no mistake, God and God alone will do it without our help. I have made efforts at things i thought God was behind, only to find the door shut. I made no attempt at other things, only to find a door wide open. Who has known the mind of the Spirit that we should instruct Him??

I appreciate the apostle Pauls efforts to encourage Titus, Timothy or whoever to keep there noses clean. Theres a million people waiting to point a finger at some injunction or perceived offense and discredit you. The Spirit within TITUS was fully able to keep him in check when and where he had to be. God will do the same in you also.

Blessings Tim



      

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Joyce
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Bob and Tim.... enjoying so much your dialogue about these things.   Real life in the questions and answers!  (and even the non-answers)  

 

I guess if I had gotten a crystal ball and could have seen my present mindset decades ago, I would have been shocked at what I might have seen.  That would include how I view behaviors now compared to then.  The gospels seem to point to a different view of things than what I was taught when you look at the people that Jesus hung with and seemingly without a lot of condemnation or trying to "clean up their act" as opposed to his words to those who seemed to "have their act together" behavior-wise and were always trying to clean up the acts of others.  I know from what is written that the behavior things are "dead", but don't think (as I have posted on another thread) that I really understand the "deadness" of it, unless it means more in terms of it being a "dead issue" in light of the gospel.... in light of the true Life of Christ now being who we truly are. 

Also, could it ever be that there could be a God orchestration in our lives that has certain behaviors "happen" in our lives in order to expose and root out a self righteousness that was so engrained that that would be about the only way of bringing the self righteousness to our sight and subsequently to bring it to death?...  (righteousness being by faith only.... and faith being by his "authoring and finishing")  Just wondering and pondering some things this morning.... 

Marissa



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Rest and Trust
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Connie wrote:

 You're learning what is being given to you in this moment in time. NOt what you're trying to get.

Loved this Connie!  

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luvin
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the shovel wrote:
Hello Tim,

Wow, this brings back memories as it was a regularly rotated course at my Bible College and in a few church groups I attended during and after that. I fully understand why you may not have been encouraged because of it. The validation for this premise is Biblical, which simply means that one can use Scripture to back up the concept. It doesn't mean, however, that the practice we've established has anything to do with the meaning in Paul's letters. For his words didn't suggest taking any kind of "spiritual inventory" or to "discover your spiritual gifts". Instead, he referred to something that had been obvious among those he wrote to, encouraging them to continue in the very expressions of life they had already exhibited among the group. It's just like with anything else, we have turned the expression of God into a formula by our attempts to dissect, identify and categorize the miracle.

Now, I'm sure that many who teach these classes believe they are carrying out that which is important to God. They may be desperately struggling to increase a sense of community among groups that lack such interaction. I mean, how many groups have any of us been part of that have little to no real interaction? I realized way back as a teenager that whatever Christianity was supposed to be that it ought to have some real connection other than just showing up and getting together for the sake of form. This is one reason why we've searched the Bible for programs and teachings, for we want to create some reality and then "pass it on". Here we are with life blossoming all around us and yet we resort to methods of duplication in an attempt to clone the life, and then wonder why our clones don't seem to perform as we had expected.

I found no edification by participating in those classes either. I knew that my examination would surely produce poor results (at least in view of what I had hoped I might discover). I would only discover how lacking I was. I sensed the exhilaration/desperation in the air around me through the comments as to gifts or lack thereof that were being "discovered". Mostly, I didn't want to know because I didn't want to discover that I might be a failure in what I thought God would expect. And to be honest, it really came down to my own expectations, for if God approved of me then perhaps I could approve of me.

It has only been through the revelation of my true life in Christ that I began to recognize the expression of God that had been expressing itself through me even in the midst of my own dissatisfaction and disappointment with myself.

Jim



Jim,
This really speaks to me even today. For it not only points out to us the fleshy minds attempts at bringing "it"[the gifts] into a reality but, it also depicts the real truth about the gifts in us that are already there! Only the natural mind has covered it up.

This post is a keeper. Thank you.

Adam

 


      

It is peace[the kind we long for] to know that my life patterns do not distract or derail the Living God"-Adam

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the shovel
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Adam, I see you've been digging around. :) Just reading this returns those memories again and leaves me encouraged. I am glad it means something to you.

Jim


      

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adam ... hey ... i can't keep up!    sooo many great threads and posts to read!  i just can't seem to get to it and enjoy it all this summer.     perhaps when the grandkids go back to school and i have a little more concentration time to myself?     i will also have to get caught up on all the things that need taken care of around here as well.

not to mention how wilted and zapped of energy i always get in the summers.  my energy is reduced to a big puddle of melted goo ... even in the air conditioning.  my brain is melted as well. 

have enjoyed at least being able to give a quick glimpse and glance at these oldies you have been 'shoveling' up and rediscovering.    a lot of encouraging reminders, some thought provoking things to continue pondering, and a lot of reminiscing and wondering how a lot of folks are that no longer visit with us here.   i miss them. 

anyway ... love ya adam ... thanks for all these enjoyable re-visits! 




Edited by Dignz on Jul-07-10 at 11:08am


      

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