Neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them

Bible Verse

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
( Matthew 7:6 )

 

Wikipedia

Link

  1. The metaphor seems to be teaching against giving what is holy to those who do not appreciate it. Animals such as dogs and pigs cannot appreciate religion, and this verse implies that there is some class of humans who cannot either. The identity of this class is a difficult question, as one of the dominant ideas in Christian thought is universalism.
  2. One modern argument is that dogs and pigs represent Gentiles and heathens, and that this verse is rare relic demonstrating that Jesus’ original message was intended only for the Jews. Harrington notes that such warnings are found in rabbinic works of the period.  In Jewish literature heathens were often compared to dogs, and the unclean pig was a Jewish symbol for the Roman Empire. In 2 Peter 2:22 dogs and swine quite clearly refers to heretics. According to Schweizer this verse was used by Jewish Christians to attack the Gentile churches, to argue that Gentile Christians would turn on the Jews by rejecting their laws and destroying Israel
  3. The dominant reading is that the two expressions are both referring to the same thing and the same group of people. To Nolland this verse is not an attack on any particular group, but rather a continuation of the theme of God and Mammon begun at Matthew 6:24 and that verse is an attack on wasteful spending. We should put all of our resources to God, as everything is like dogs and pigs compared to Him.  Nolland also proposes that the verse might be to balance the other verses, that non-judgmentalism can only go so far and that there are some who should be excluded.
  4. As Morris points out, this verse can also be read as a reasonable limit on evangelism. If a population or individual is not open to Christianity, leave and find a more receptive audience. As Morris points out Jesus was silent before Herod and Peter abandoned the unsympathetic city of Corinth. Fowler links this to the earlier discussion of judgment. One should not judge severely, but there is a point at which any reasonable person will realize that those they are dealing with are dogs and swine
  5. The alternate interpretation is that dogs and pigs are not metaphors for some group of people, but for the unholy in general. This verse is not about excluding some group from God’s teaching, but rather ensuring that those things that are God’s are kept holy. Thus the Temple is kept clean, religious meals treated with respect, and holy days honoured and kept separate from the turbulence and impiety of daily life.
  6. In Divine Conspiracy, Dallas Willard offers another interpretation. In it, Jesus is not speaking of a wonderful treasure (the pearl), or whether the audience is fit to have it (the swine). Instead, he is observing that the pearl is not helpful. “Pigs cannot digest pearls, cannot nourish themselves upon them.” He concludes that this reflects “our efforts to correct and control others by pouring out our good things” that our audience is not ready for, and that our seemingly good intentions will ultimately yield anger, resentment and attack by the audience. This turns the analogy into one that exposes one’s self-superiority in thinking the other needs the unbidden advice.
  7. All those points aside, one might usefully read through Matthew 13 when interpreting the phrase. The “pearls” may be like the seed sown by the farmer. If the farmer continues to sow on the rocky places, path or among thorns he may be foolish. The farmer may be wiser to sow in the good soil; or suffer weaker harvests (albeit the crops that do grow among weeds and/or thorns or in other, harder, places may prove more hardy: having survived and then been considered “good enough to keep” by the farmer despite the effects of the weeds and/or thorns). Like the seeds, pearls (of wisdom) placed before swine might simply be swallowed without being digested: repeated without understanding (perhaps as Jesus saw others of his time repeating scripture without understanding it). Matthew 13:44-46 opens this interpretation up a little further. As a more contemporary note, it is worth considering the sowing parables in light of subsequent monastic thought on selective breeding (see Augustinian Friar, Gregor Mendel and peas): the seeds from the crops that survived the weeds, thorns, path or rock may provide stronger, more durable, seed for sowing in all types of situation – albeit there may be differences in taste and quality to consider too.

Videos

  1. Calvary Chapel Ontario
    • Pastor Paul LeBoutillier
      • Videos
        • YouTube

 

 

 

Must be a Sunday

Morning Wake Up Call

Woke up 6:50 and I did not have to take in too much convincing.

Had gone to bed early and I was well rested.

It is Sunday morning and I might as well go in and hear from the man of God.

Brought out the clippers and got a clean shave; there is no reason keeping any of this bad hair.

 

Who they are

Made it to worship late us usual.  And, so took that empty seat at the last row.

Service was good, the pastor brought up two congregants who faith has brought together.

His faith has held for sixteen years. Worn and Tested.

Hers has grown in a much more unruffled soil; the company of friends.

In time her faith was tested as well.

When he is the one doing the testing; everything turns out well.

Her friends were not just friends in what they believe.  But, also in whom they are.

Brother Ray

Saw Brother Ray.

Had asked for his prayers a week earlier.

Walking the hallways and sometimes there is not better place, but out there in the open.

Someone else might be encouraged by the humility of brothers saying lay your hands on me.

And, pray me in to the place of peace that you are standing in.

Thankfully things are now more settled.

One never knows what lays ahead and so when prompted by the Spirit, be sure to ask for that prayer and fellowship.

 

Brother Gary

Saw Brother Gary after Church.

Asked him to please keep us abreast of plans for laying Dad down.

And, of prayers for him; and how I will not say more than that.

He agreed that there is not much to say has we have been through it.

He said of the plans that it was actually happening this afternoon.  But, it is out of town.

In Jamaica Queens, New York.

I am just so thankful that he could have muttered Yes and held the plans to himself, but he chose not to.

And, that rendered us the opportunity to enjoin with him in Spirit.

 

Aunt Stacy & Uncle Alan

Aunt Stacy called on Friday Night.

And, so made time to go see Aunt T. on Saturday afternoon.  And, also on Sunday.

And, yes the grass needed to be trimmed in love.

And, so returned home and came back with the mower.

After Church on Sunday, came back and took care of the backyard, as well.

Just like my Hair mowed the grass down rudely and harshly.

As I returned to the front to get some more gas, saw Uncle Alan, Aunt Stacy’s husband, helping trim the edges.

He was picking up behind me.

All the stuff I rushed through while cutting the front yard, he was lovingly and affectionately placing a well.

 

Mama

Took Mama out for Sunday dinner.

Dinner was at Forbes Mills in Los Gatos.

Here is a link.

Made sure that we walked the outdoors and got Mama’s hair wet.

Worked up an appetite and took in the refreshment of the wild, tempered outdoors.

 

R.C.

Talking about Los Gatos.

RC from Cornell interviewed there a few years ago.

She gunned for the City Planner’s position.

And, it came down to her and another person.

Wouldn’t that be something if RC is the one running that city; responsible for keeping old money respectable and treasured.

Bill Wiese

Videos

  1. YouTube
    • Videos
      • On November 23rd, 1998 Bill Wiese experienced something so horrifying it would continue to captivate the world for over a decade. Bill shares his terrifying experience as described in his book, “23 Minutes in Hell.” This powerful message will change your life! This video is taken from his DVD which is included with his 3rd book, “23 Questions about Hell.” Copyright 2010 by Bill Wiese. (DVD includes additional content).
        Link

 

In depth

  1. Wife
    • Married way over my Head
  2. Came back from Hell?
    • Question
      • Lazarus ( Luke 16 )
    • Response
      • I was not dead
      • This is a vision
  3. How can a christian see Hell
    • Can enter in Spiritual Body
    • Only in vision can a Christian see hell
    • Spirit & Physical Body
      • Ezekiel 8
        • Ezekiel 8 ( KJV )
          Link
      • 1st Corinthians 15
        • It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
          Link
      • Revelation 5
        • Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed.
          He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
          ( Revelation 5:5 )
        • And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
          ( Revelation 5:10 )
      • Genesis
        • And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars,
          if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
          ( Genesis 15:5 )
  4. God hid it from my mind
    • but they were kept from recognizing him ( Luke 24:16 )
  5. Fear of the Lord
    • For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,
      A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?
      O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You.…
      ( Psalm 89:7 )
    •  I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me.
      Jeremiah 32:40 )
  6. Passion to witness
    • Bill Bright
      • Only 2% of Christians witness
    • Charles Spurgeon
      • 90% of our witness is through our life example
        • Do we keep our word
        • Do we show up on time
        • Do we walk in excellence
        • Do we show forgiveness
        • All those things that people observe
    • Bible versus
      • Judgement
        • Knowing the terror of the Lord, we persuade men
          • Ministry of Reconcilliation
            Link
            11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience.
            12 We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.
            13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.
            14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died;
            15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
            ( 2 Corinthians 5:11-15)
        • When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.
          ( Ezekiel 33:8 )
    • Why did I not know you
      • Hopelessness
        • For the grave cannot praise you,
              death cannot sing your praise;
          those who go down to the pit
              cannot hope for your faithfulness.
          ( Isaiah 38:18 ) [ Link ]

 

 

Damon Thompson – Kinsman Redeemer

 

Videos

  1. YouTube
    1. Small Segment
      Link
    2. Full Segment
      Church :- Redemption Point Church Highland Park Campus,Chattanooga Tennessee
      Publisher :- Ricky Ricardo Smith
      Date Preached :- 2016-August-28th
      Date Published :- 2016-August-29th
      Link

Outline

  1. Redeem the Land
    • Passages
      • If one of your fellow Israelite’s becomes poor and sells some of their property, their nearest relative is to come and redeem what they have sold. ( Leviticus 25:25-28 )
      • Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: .. your uncle is going to come to you and say, ‘Buy my field, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’” ( Jeremiah 32:6-9 )
  2. Redeem the Enslaved
    • Passages
      • “If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves.” ( Leviticus 25:47-55 )
  3. Provide Heir
    • Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother. ( Genesis 38:8-10 )
    • If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. ( Deuteronomy 25:5-10 )
    • Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. ( Matthew 22:23-28 )
  4. Justice
    • The avenger of blood shall put the murderer to death when they meet. ( Numbers 35:16-21 )
  5. Trustee for the Redeemed Land
    • Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done. ( Numbers 35:16-21 )
    • I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven ( Matthew 16:13-20 )

 

Passages

Redeem the Land

Leviticus 25:25-28

 

Jeremiah 32:6-9

Redeem From Slavery

Leviticus 25:47-55

 

Provide a Heir

Genesis 38:8-10

 

Deuteronomy 25:5-10

 

Matthew 22:23-28

 

Justice

Numbers 35:16-21

 

Provide Trustee for the Redeemed

Numbers 5:5-8

 

Matthew 16:13-20

 

What we are entrusted with ….

Intro

The last few months has been interesting.

 

Journey

Change Agent

There was a change I wanted to implement in our Development process, but I was not quite sure we had identified the right person in our Development group to make sure that the change will be well received and successfully carried to completion.

As chance will have it, some one sent me a script to deploy; as I reviewed the script, I suggested some changes.  The person actually received the suggestions and implemented them.

I suggested a couple of peripheral changes and he incorporated those as well.

Furthermore, he shared that he always wondered about same peculiarity in the system and he is happy that he now knows how to better accommodate it.

A week or two later he was let go as part of a cost cutting measure.

 

Guardian Angel

A story was told about a Guarding Angel.

A daughter was born and her mother soon became a single parent.

A man came forth promising employment within strict guidelines.

Both sides kept their ends.

Another lady came and gave money placed in a tidy envelopment.  Unrequested and Unexpected.  Asked why, she replied that the Lord asked her to do it.

That friendship lasted over twenty years.  And, only came to temporary suspension upon the Angel’s return to Heaven.

 

Nobility

It just so happens that there are organizational changes that we need to align with.

As these pieces are being moved and new homes tested out, natural and technical pairings are considered and given the opportunity to develop and nourish.

Better outcomes are more likely through nobility, upbringing, fellowship, self initiation, and ongoing commitment to growth.

 

Summary

Each of us is either headed into change or fastening our self in some change.

Both sides are more alike than we might first understand.

I pray encouragement, temperament, understanding, and providence in managing what we are entrusted with.

Real Live Stories through YouTube

Videos

  1. Mandy Bass
    • NBC News
      • Today
        • Mandy Bass: The Woman Who Forgave The Intruder Who Brutally Beat Her | Megyn Kelly TODAY
          Two years ago, Mandy Bass was home alone in Florida when an intruder on LSD broke in and beat her, injuring her severely. Now she joins Megyn Kelly TODAY along with the man who attacked her, who shares his own story. “All the divides between us just disappeared” when they met after his trial, Mandy tells Megyn.
          Channel :- Today
          Date Published :- 2018-Jan-11th
          Link
    • Stories
      • People
        • Woman Attacked by Man on LSD Forgives Him and Helps Him Avoid Prison: ‘Forgiveness Heals’
          Link
    •  Participants
      • Mandy Bass
      • Kevin Jackman
  2. Ginger Hubbard & Victor Hubbard
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Texas woman and homeless man now have lifelong bond
          A Texas chef changed the life of a homeless man with a little help from Facebook. Victor Hubbard and Ginger Sprouse join CBSN with more on their new friendship.
          Channel :- CBS News
          Published On:- 2017-March-14th
          Link
  3. Stephanie Arnold
    • NBC News
      • Today
        • Meet The Mom Who Predicted Her Own Death (And Lived To Tell About It) | Megyn Kelly TODAY
          When Stephanie Arnold went to the hospital for an emergency C-section, she predicted she would die. And she was right: she flatlined for 37 seconds. She tells Megyn Kelly that should could see what was happening in the OR and elsewhere during her near-death experience, and says she continues to have premonitions today. “I fought; It was not comfortable.”
          Channel :- TODAY
          Published On :- 2017-Dec-22nd
          Series :- She Got Faith
          Link
  4. Eugene Yoon
    • Two years after huge act of kindness, man shows it can be a calling
      Two years ago, Eugene Yoon made the craziest decision of his life. With no degree or plan, he decided he wanted to help a paralyzed man walk again. As Steve Hartman reports, after reaching that goal, he set his sights on a repeat performance.
      Channel :- CBS Evening News
      Published On :- 2017-April-7th
      Link
  5. In 2005, Jameel McGee was falsely arrested for drug dealing by narcotics cop Andrew Collins
    • NBC
      • TODAY
        • Innocent Man And Cop Who Unjustly Jailed Him Are Now Friends | Megyn Kelly TODAY
          In 2005, Jameel McGee was falsely arrested for drug dealing by narcotics cop Andrew Collins, who later wound up in jail himself. When their paths later crossed, Collins apologized for framing McGee, and they became friends and wrote a book together. The two men join Megyn Kelly TODAY to tell their unlikely story of forgiveness.
          Channel :- TODAY
          Date Published :- 2017-Dec-26th
          Link
  6. Julia Gladden
    • NBC
      • TODAY
        • Jaila Gladden was on a late-night trip to the supermarket when a man with a knife forced her into a car. On Megyn Kelly TODAY, she is joined by her boyfriend, Tamir Bryant, as she recounts her terrifying ordeal and explains how she escaped with the help of her smartphone and some quick thinking.
          Channel :- TODAY
          Date Published :- 2018-Jan-19th
          Link
  7. Brittany Diggs
    • ESPN
      • Outside Lines
        • Runner Brittany Diggs’ Harrowing Trunk Escape | Outside The Lines | ESPN
          Channel :- ESPN
          Date Published :- 2017-May-3rd
          Brittany Diggs tells Outside the Lines how her collegiate track career and insulin pump aided her in escaping a kidnapper who had locked her in the trunk of her car.
          Link
    • NBC News
      • Today
        • Trunk Kidnap Victim Brittany Diggs Recounts Her Daring Escape (Exclusive) | TODAY
          Channel :- Today
          Date Published :- 2017-March-20th
          Brittany Diggs, the 25-year-old nursing student who was forced into the trunk of her own car at gunpoint, speaks out about her terrifying ordeal. She hopes that her story leads to the capture of the suspect. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports for TODAY.
          Link
  8. Joyce & John Smith.  And, Pastor Noble
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Meet The Mom Whose Son Survived After Being Clinically Dead For An Hour | Megyn Kelly TODAY
          After Joyce Smith’s 14-year-old son John fell through an icy Missouri lake, he was clinically dead for more than an hour. She and John are joined on Megyn Kelly TODAY live by their pastor, John Noble, as they describe John’s seemingly miraculous return from the dead.
          Channel :- TODAY
          Published On :- 2017-Nov-6th
          Link
  9. Gail Lukasik
    • Videos
      • Youtube
        • Meet The Woman Who Learned That Her Mother Passed As White | Megyn Kelly TODAY
          Megyn Kelly TODAY welcomes Gail Lukasik, whose book, “White Like Her,” recounts how she uncovered her mother’s secret: that she was keeping her mixed-race heritage hidden even from her own husband. She recounts her mother’s reaction: “Promise me you will never tell anyone until after I die.”
          Channel :- TODAY
          Published On :- 2018-Feb-5th
          Link

 

In depth

Stephanie Arnold

  1. The Spirit
    • When you die the Spirit seperates
    • The Spirit was there before your body and it is there when it leaves
    • The Spirit is there everytime

 

Joyce & John Smith.  And, Pastor Noble

  1. Quotes
    • Mother
      • Come Holy Spirit!
      • When Doctor said John was not going to live through the night…
        • I refused to believe that
        • There will be no negative talk
        • And, we guarded that
    • Son
      • I needed God and it was a desperate time
      • Our lives were on the line and we knew that
      • Cherish every moment
        • We are not promised
        • I love you son, I love you Dad
        • Do your best in every opportunity
        • Give a hundred to God
  2. Book :- The Impossible, Joyce Smith

 

American Justice

 

Videos

  1. American Justice A Soldier’s Secret
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • A gay private in the US army is bludgeoned to death by fellow soldiers
          Channel :- Anthony Dukes
          Published On :- 2017-Oct-30th
          Link
    • Participants
      • Barry Winchell
      • Calvin Glover
      • Justin Fisher
    • Story
      • Wikipedia
        • Murder of Barry Winchell – Wikipedia
          Link
      • Vanity Fair
        • Don’t Ask, Don’t Kill: Inside the Murder of Solider Barry Winchell ..
          Link
      • Time
        • “Why Do People Have To Push Me Like That?” – TIME
          Link
  2. Death of a Bride
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Channel :- Anthony Dukes
          Published On :- 2017-Oct-23rd
          Link
    • Participants
      • Gladys Ricart
      • Davis
      • Juan Ricart ( Brother )
      • James Preston ( Fiance )
      • Marie-Ann Liriano
      • Norma Rosario
      • Augustine Garcia
        • Augustine Garcia ( Ex Boyfriend )
        • Natisa Garcia ( Daughter )
  3. Laci & Scott Peterson
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Channel :- Uncle Abner
          Published On :- 2017-July-24th
          Link
    • Show Listing
      • IMDB
        Season 14, Episode 1
        Link
    • Participants
      • Laci Peterson
      • Scott Peterson
  4. Sara & Fred Tokas
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • The Wife Who Knew Too Much
          Channel :- Ultimate Media TV
          Published On :- 2017-July-24th
          Link
    • Participants
      • Tokas
        • Sara Tokas
        • Fred Toksa
    • Stories
      • AJC
        • We survived, thanks to six amazing aunts and one strong grandfather
          Link
    •  Date:
      • Untimely :- Nov 29th, 1992
  5. George Lewis
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Video #1
          Channel :- Popular Videos American Justice
          Published On :- 2017-July-24th
          Link
    • Participants
      • George Lewis
      • Larry
  6. Marion “Mad Dog” Pruett
    • Profile
      • While in the government witness protection program in 1981, Marion “Mad Dog” Pruett goes on a crime spree across several states. AKA Sonny Pearson while in the witness protection program he committed a series of robberies and at least five murders that included his wife Pamela Sue Barker. American Justice looks this case and examines how many blamed the government for allowing this to happen while on their watch.
    • Listing
      • IMDB
        • Dealing with the Devil ( 2011 )
          Link
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Dealing with the Devil
          Channel :- Popular Videos American Justice
          Published On :- 2017-July-24th
          Link
    • Persons
      • Marion “Mad Dog” Pruett
      • Peggy Lo
  7. Bobby Kent
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Payback for a Bully – Video #1
          Published On :- 2015-Feb-22nd
          Link
  8. Doctor who killed wife
    • Videos
      • YouTube
        • Doctor who killed wife – Video #1
          Published On :- 2018-March-7th
          Link

 

In-depth

Death of a Bride

  1. In Dominican Republic
    • 1979
  2. Augustine Garcia
    • Met 1992
  3. James Preston
    • Fiancee

 

Stories

Sara & Fred Tokas

We survived, thanks to six amazing aunts and one strong grandfather

We survived, thanks to six amazing aunts and one strong grandfather
Link

Mike Tokars was 4-years-old when his mother, Sara, was shot by a hit man in a 1992 murder case that ultimately led to his father, Fred Tokars. Mike Tokars and his brother, Rick, were raised in Bradenton, Fla. An aspiring journalist, Tokars is an intern for a magazine in New York. This is the first time he has spoken publicly about his mother’s murder.

It wasn’t the heavy and personal nature of this assignment that had me pacing and chain-smoking last Sunday; it was an unavoidable conversation with my brother. Rick and I had not spoken about her — to one another, alone — in 10 years.

I remember it went something like this:

Me: “Hey, it’s the 10th anniversary of Mom …”

Rick: “I know … Wanna go surf? Cold front brought a swell.”

Me: “Yeah.”

And we went surfing.

A decade earlier we were saying, “If Dad had been there [last night], he would’ve shot him.”

And talking about mom ended there.

I realize that this looks sad on paper, but the fact of the matter is, Rick and I don’t need to discuss our lives before Nov. 29, 1992. I know how Rick feels about it. And Rick knows how I feel about it. We remember. We were there. We’ve been thinking about it every day for 20 years, so there is no need to say it out loud.

But this is not to say that Sara Tokars has been absent from our lives during the last two decades; not at all, actually. I speak about my Mother frequently — to close friends who know what happened, and also to acquaintances who don’t.

I never get heavy on it outside of familial zones, and have grown into a habit of talking about her the way other people talk about their mothers who are alive; because it is not necessary to include the horrible detail. Once, I bragged to a cute hipster chick from Colorado that “my Mom went to college in Boulder, in the 70s.” I suppose I do this because — well, I suppose I do this because I wish I was someone with the option of talking about my Mom, as if she were alive.

I do, however, bring up the murder when talking with my aunts — the Ambrusko sisters — who, despite the immeasurable and ongoing sadness they’ve been forced to cope with, continue making extraordinary efforts to keep Sara alive for Rick and me. And I do feel her in all of them — in six separate ways that come from each sister’s similar but unique relationship with my Mom; but there is also an all-encompassing force which they share as a whole. Attempting to describe this internal reaction would be useless; but I have observed the spirit does not come from an individual source, but from all of their efforts combined.

It feels safe, and warm — like Mass on Christmas morning.

When I graduated from University of South Florida last year, not a single aunt missed the commencement. They brought all of the available uncles and cousins, from each corner of America, down to swampy Florida — the land of runaways and fresh-starts, where Rick and I grew up.

All six of the Ambrusko girls sat together, in place of their middle sister, Sara — who I’m told once made a heck of a cheerleader — and cheered for me, the fortunate orphan.

Later that night, at a beach bar near our home in Bradenton, the entire family gathered around a table, drinking and laughing and smiling together, watching me on stage, where I was playing guitar and singing with my band. At one point during our second set, while we were riffing on some instrumental number, I took the opportunity away from the microphone to get a good look at my family.

I lit a cigarette and let the rhythm section carry on for a bit; smiled back, and tipped my bottled-water their way for a subtle “cheers” to all of them, but especially to my aunts.

You might remember them from the extensive media coverage of the murder of Sara Tokars; but for the sake of clarity, and to give credit where it is due, I’m going to list them here:

The Ambrusko girls are: Theresie, Gretchen, Mary, Sara, Joni, Karen, and Krissy.

They are all wonderful and have gone above and beyond for Rick and me. In the wake of such a deranged adversity, we were — and are — very lucky to have them.

And in regard to my father: His name is Dr. John Ambrusko.

My grandfather always wanted boys, and ended up with two as an old man. He is the reason that Rick and I survived. It was through his example that we learned to be strong and composed, to work hard and to pray.

Summary

To work hard to pray…