Seasons Of Love

This video was made for all those that we are leaving behind when we move tomorrow.  You’ve been a part of my life in one way or another, for a long time or a short time, but it doesn’t matter for how long, you’ve touch my heart, and I love you.  Regardless of any situation or drama that has taken place, circumstances are temporary, love is permanent.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  It wasn’t easy to use this song for this picture collection, as this song is very special to me and my best friend, who is now smiling down from Heaven, so to extend this song in this way to you all is a great achievement, not just to you, but also, for me, a realization to me that I love you enough to do this.  If you didn’t make it into the video but know you belong there, it’s because I didn’t have a picture, like my brothers or other nieces and nephews, a couple other friends.  Don’t worry, if I love you, you already know it.  Good luck with your lives, and God bless.

****SURPRISE.  NOT THE ORIGINAL VIDEO, NOR MINE IN ANY WAY****

It’s almost six o’clock on Thursday evening, and I’m laying in bed, having not accomplished much today other than going along for a ride to the doctor’s office with my wife and daughter…unscheduled appointment.  I think the stress of the move, that none of us may really realize we have, is starting to get to us all.  My wife is having more problems with her medical condition because of having to keep track of appointments and be the main “hub” of information.  If it has anything to do with appointments, contacts, travel information, shutting off/turning on in this state and in that state, etc…she’s handling it.  She’s the brains of the operation, other than for the fact that I’m really the only one that knows anything about the moving company information.  I’m on that one! It’s fair, considering I’m the brawn of the operation.  I’m the one that takes it all out, packs up what I know is definitely going, what I definitely want of mine, leave the rest in a pile for her to tell me what to pack up later.  It’s a good system, albeit exhausting.  I’m still trying to figure out why I should carry the boxes up from the basement and down from the bedrooms to the main level to make it easier for the movers.  Hmm…It’s not so much easier for the movers, but for me, to stay organized, since we have to take certain boxes in our trucks with us and, well, let’s face it, bedrooms weren’t designed to have boxes of things lined against the walls around your beds…getting too crowded.  (Now the living room is crowded but there’s a method to my madness here)

Alas, all the packing and moving of boxes I have been doing, not including yesterday which was extra work, has started to wear me down.  I’m tired but can’t sleep, or maybe just won’t sleep.  It’s not like I tried very hard to take a nap today when I could have been taking one all day.  Instead, I worked on this video because it was important to me and time doesn’t stand still.  And I could have slept in but I decided to get up and go along to the doctors because…well, I don’t know why, exactly.  Our daughter had a horrible headache last night, her neck was super tense as well, seemed swollen even.  This morning she was the same way and we had to keep her home from summer school, ugh, with only three days left!  But anyway, we went…we don’t know, but it’s being treated and we have to keep our eye out for specific symptoms.  She’s stressed too though, she packed up the last of her room yesterday, thankfully.  I didn’t think it would ever get done and I didn’t want it to become a fight when it came down to the last minute.  But like I said, it’s stressful for her, another move, another new school, new friends…heck, she hasn’t even seen the place yet or been to the state.  It’s a total leap of faith for her and she’s still working on her faith, so she’s mostly trusting just us.  I don’t believe she’ll think we let her down, at least I hope she doesn’t think that.  Our choice was mostly with her in mind, again, even though when we set out to make our move, we had solitude in mind, and making a decision just because we wanted what we finally wanted, dammit, and it didn’t matter what she thought…mhm, I’m a sucker for that little girl when it comes to her happiness and well-being.  Now make it something petty and we’ll bicker…

But I’m tired…And while we’ve accomplished so much, for some reason, it still feels like there’s still so much more to be done. 

Thank you, God for making it possible for us to have gotten so much done so far and for making it possible to get it all done in time.

This week has been full of thankful moments and, of course, snafus.  We’ve continued to make last minute sales on items from our house that we’ve chosen to not take with us in which the money has been helpful, prayers and patience paid off again and my car is back from the shop, while the rattle in the engine remains a mystery because I don’t have the time and money to allow them to take it apart (So I’ve put that one in God’s hands), the brakes are fine, so I don’t have to spend any money there.  I called the cable company and spoke to a lady who told me that she, too, believes God wants me in Arizona!  I danced with my best friend yesterday in the middle of the cemetery he is buried in to the song “It’s raining men,” with the radio blaring, and smoking a cigarette!  Our new check cards didn’t arrive so we had a rush put on them at the branch, now only one has shown up…grrr.  My disability case was closed because they didn’t receive my packet, and I know for a fact that I mailed it in…double grrrr, although my wife says this isn’t a “grrr” at all and she will help me again.  I still say grrr.  And the whole country is sitting around biting their nails about this debt crisis thing because there is the little issue about getting paid, having money, and we’d like to at least make it out to Arizona before we are homeless, because I have a theory that it might be better to not have a home in the heat than in the snow.  I don’t know, and I don’t mean to joke or offend, but it’s a real possibility for anyone if they don’t figure it out and compromise soon. 

Well, there’s a snapshot into our life.  A day in a season.

Friday night.  What a busy day, yet, unproductive again.  I had an early doctor’s appointment that got bumped up from Monday…good thing, followed by another appointment this afternoon.  Finally, no more appointments.  Another good thing.  I say this because the movers called today and wanted to know if we could bump up our move to August 1st.  Deep breath, eyes go big…ummmm…..I had to think as quickly as possible, did I get everything done that I needed to get done?  Can we?  Yep!  We can!

And not much longer after I got home from the doctors, it was time for our daughter to go to her last appointment, which we had to bump up because her going away party started at the same time as her appointment…oops.  Can we fix this?  By the grace of God and a cancellation, it worked.  Plus we had to run all over town to pick up supplies, drinks, and a cake.  Did I mention someone else was throwing this party?  Oh well, we wanted it to be nice for her.  And it was…

So tomorrow is a work all day…day.  Sunday…church, then I get to see my brother before we leave, which I’m really glad for.  So hold tight for that church message, then tune in for an auto-publish blog of our road trip soundtrack!

It’s Sunday morning, a little before noon.  We didn’t make it to church this morning, we were still so tired.  Our exhaustion is really catching up to us and the extra sleep was much needed.  We did, however, watch the service on the internet. 

The service was about…Life.  Life happens.  Reverend Jim said you can try to walk around, tip-toe around the tulips, but it’s more like trying to tip-toe around thorns, it’s just not very easy.  Things are always going to happen that are always going to challenge you to challenge life, and challenge that source within you to dig deeper to evolve toward God to find the strengths and meanings behind those challenges we face, no matter how big or little they are.  It’s when we allow the circumstances around us to take hold and control our life that our journeys become difficult and blocked, but if we trust the power within us, and Trust God, from the jump, then all will be well, within the means that they are to be well.

It sort of reminds me of this silly little game that our kids play.  Randomly, out of nowhere, our kids…teenagers, would say “you lost the game.”  With confusion and a cocked brow, we’d look at them and wonder what the heck they were talking about, and even they would seem to wonder what they were talking about, because all their peers would know, was that they lost the game.  They explained it to me one day, that the second you think about the game, you lose it.  I just nodded and continued on, didn’t give it a second thought.  It’s just a game they came up with and surely, because none of these kids had no particular background of faith, it had nothing to do with faith at all.

Today, it has everything to do with faith.  When a challenge arises, and you think about it, analyze it, reanalyze it, think it to death, and not just trust it over to God, you’ve already lost the challenge that faces you.  You lost the game.  You haven’t trusted God and the power within you, your spirit, that unbreakable part of you, the strongest part of you, that you got this.  Life happens, just roll with it.  When life happens, just roll with it.  When you don’t, it’ll slip right through your fingers.  When you get up in the morning and you haven’t thanked God, or you haven’t proclaimed, “the Lord is my shepherd…,” yet, you start thinking about all that you have to do for the day and start worrying about all the problems you have to face, then your back to tip-toeing through the thorns.  You lost the game.

One morning, one of our kids made a sign and laid it right in front of one of the other kids for when he woke up that read “you lost the game.”  I just rolled my eyes.  I’ll have to remind him to keep his eyes closed for a few minutes and thank God for the day before opening them and allowing someone else to claim that he lost the game.

Don’t lose the game.  There is a power within you that is greater than the circumstances around you.  Let go and let God, and Love.



Thank You…::rolling out scroll::

**Disclaimer – This video is the original video by Alanis Morissette who has taken the artistic liberty she felt by this song to appear naked, HOWEVER, her hair covers her breasts and her lower area is faded out.  You just have to be comfortable with the human form and allow yourself to appreciate the lyrics, music, and message**

Last week, part of our sermon was to be thankful to God for every thing at every moment.  Although that proved to start out a little rocky, it started getting easier throughout that very day.  In fact, many aspects of that sermon became something that needed to be taken off the bench and put onto the field almost immediately that day.

My pattern of thoughts and behavior were tested in order for me to not revert back to being the one that all the expectations fall on, along with the unnecessary guilt, and to gain an idea of worth in the hearts of others.  Unfortunately, my situation right now with moving and in such little time, doesn’t allow me the time or energy to accommodate much outside of a certain schedule or travel area.  But perhaps, by voicing feelings, it may have changed the pattern of thoughts and behavior of others as they may, or may not, recognize a cry for involvement.

I got to see my family while they were up from Texas, we had a nice lunch together, and they all made it safely back to Texas.  Thank you, God, for those things.

We had planned on continuing the yard sale on Sunday, which normally we wouldn’t do because we rest on Sundays.  Instead, because everything was crazy by the time we arrived home from church, neither one of us had the energy, mostly desire, to sit outside in the heat and wait for people to show up and maybe buy items that were now marked down to a dollar or less.  We were aching, we were aggravated, and we just didn’t want to deal with anything more that day, so we loaded up the rest of the items and hauled it all to the curb.  Some of the items were things that we had gotten just as decorative items, some of the items were things that we had for a while and were a bit more personal.  We had already been thinning out the clothes, throwing away things in the storage area in the basement that we decided we didn’t really need since we haven’t used it in at least nine months or no longer had plans for, sold off a lot of personal things already, and now we were watching people come and scavenge our things at the curb.  Things that nobody was buying the day before but now picking up for free.  Oh well, it’s not like we hadn’t done it before!  And it’s all out to the curb, and I got some of the bigger trash items out of the garage that day too, with the help of one of our “foster” boys (when they still liked us), so…thank you, God, for that.

So, later on in the day, approaching evening, a woman comes up in a small car, looking over our stuff, picking through what’s left…slim pickings.  I can’t remember what she had just put in her car, as I was still bringing stuff out from the basement, but she asked me if I had any baby stuff.  Well, I did.  I brought up a baby crib that we had been dragging around with us and gave it to her, then asked her if the baby was a boy or a girl.  The baby is her nephew, and she, a seemingly good woman of faith (assuming by the garb she wears) takes care of him for her sister.  Now, I had a bunch of baby clothes that I finally made a decision to do something with, and that was to donate them, but I didn’t want to donate them to the Salvation Army because the last time I went into the local store they turned it into a boutique and I couldn’t afford anything.  Anyway, I decided I wanted to donate the clothes to her, because I believe God made it possible for she and I to cross paths.  I mean, let’s face it, she could have just got back in her car and drove away when I came out, or I could have taken longer getting outside, or taken a break in the back…anything.

So a few days later, after I go and get the clothes, she comes to get them and, through casual conversation, we find out that she needs a bunch of other items that we just happen to have and that we are selling.  She takes a walk through the house and decides she wants the items, and arranges to pick them up the next day.  It worked out perfectly for us, considering that we were down to one vehicle because my wife’s was in the shop and we didn’t have enough money to get it out (with 12 days left to leave), and when we combined the money that we made from the yard sales, the sudden curb-dive to sudden “House Depot”, we only had to come up with about $30 to go get the car, which we had.  There ya go again, crisis situation…Thank you, God, problem solved….

The real struggle I’m having right now is with the drama in the house.  We took in two kids this last year, trying to give them a place where they know they are safe, cared for, loved, encouraged and wanted.  They were our daughter’s friends, 17 years old when we took in the one, and the other is 17 still.  We never asked for any rent, we never expected them to buy their own food, although the one had his parents chipping in every now and then, which was quite helpful.  All we asked was for respect, follow some basic house rules, do a few simple chores, and be honest.  Honestly, these kids had it better than most kids that we know around here, considering they each had their own parents and we were not being reimbursed by anyone for taking care of them.  At the time, we were being reimbursed by their love, and it was wonderful.

Now, time has passed, comfort took over, age made one think that rules don’t apply, the two we had taken into our homes and hearts soon began to stop showing the love and start showing disrespect.  They were both offered a spot in Arizona with us, but decided that have their own things they want to do.  I was saddened at first, at the thought of leaving them behind.  Now I’m saddened because they’ve disappointed me, they’ve hurt me, I never expected the one to do that to me…and he did.  And the one that I expected to disappoint me right away, didn’t do it until the end…after I tried to tell him not to be a follow of anyone that will lead him astray.  So I’m also saddened at the fact that while this countdown my wife has on the chalkboard is for the benefit of keeping on track, and for the joy of heading off to a new life, it’s also a countdown until I can be done with the crap these kids have put my heart and mind through in the last couple months.  It hurts me to feel that way, because I don’t know if it’s wrong…but at this moment in life…during this time of limbo, I have to look out for me and my family, to keep us on track to get us where we need to go.  Unfortunately, if it means selling any item that belongs to me, even a bed, because my family needs that money, and they feel they have the right to talk mean about it when they’ve had more than ample notice of when they needed find a place to be, then that’s just the way it is.  I cannot feel guilty about that…guilt does nothing for me except hold me down, and I can’t be held down by other people’s patterns of thought and behavior when I’m trekking my own path to a higher ground.  I’m just confused about how to respond to them anymore, when each day they seem to spur on something just to make matters worse.  So…thank you, God, first for giving us time with these boys, time to love them, find out who they truly are without the negative influences of other people who have no motivation in life, thank you, God, for putting this situation before me to figure out how to handle and evolve into a better person for it, and thank you, God, for your love and spiritual guidance through it.

Through all this craziness around here, we’ve been doing our best to get packed up.  Our house is the most disorganized it’s ever been, and I love being an organized person.  Perhaps I’ve been jumping the gun on packing up certain things, but at the same time, I just want to get it done, so that we’re not running around at the last minute trying to get too much done.  It’s been hot, muggy, and we’ve been losing power on and off because of the heat.  It started off that we were losing power just because of the heat, but then the power company started planning it between certain hours.  We are already in a house with no air conditioning that we are trying to cool down with only two window units, which works well enough, but when there is no breeze, it gets super hot in here.  The power company seems to think it’s a better idea to turn the power off during the night, that we won’t mind, not really…makes it harder to sleep, and as exhausted as we get through the day, the sleep is very welcomed and needed, but hard to get.  Oh well, thank you, God, for giving me the foresight to get most of the packing done earlier on and saving the odds and ends for now and later on, and that at least we still have power at times, and thank you, God, that we only have a little bit more packing to do…I think.

We picked up our money from a survey that we did today, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.  It helped us to pay for our car insurance…once again, here at the end and living on God’s good graces…which, we thank Him for.

We’re planning on going to the zoo today, one last time!  They are having a members only deal to be able to go into all the attractions for free so we’re going to take this last chance and go for it.  Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for a call back for someone to buy one of our televisions and still praying that someone will call to buy my washer and dryer and set of baseball cards.  We really need to sell those before the moving truck gets here…at least the washer and dryer.  Thank you, God, for giving us the ability to put those things up for sale.

Tomorrow is church and we couldn’t be more anxious to get there.  We only have two more services at this church before we leave and we can’t help but think of how much we’re going to miss it.  We’ve invited a couple people to go with us and we’ve made it a goal to get everything done so that we can attend the church picnic the last Sunday before we leave.  We are looking forward to it.

Wow…Let me start off by saying thank you, God!  I say this because I just had the entire rest of this post finished, just spent forty-five minutes on it, went to publish it, web froze, clicked back…gone!  This was just after I spent that forty-five minutes capturing what I got from this morning’s service, which focused in on thanking God, and I thought, heh, how funny, I’ve been focusing in on thanking God all week, which is why this post is the way it is, and the song…well, the song came out of nowhere as I was driving along, as usual.  Nonetheless, I had just talked about how we have to thank God, even in the midst of crappy circumstances…even though I didn’t use that word in the first draft.  I mentioned how it was sometimes difficult to find a reason to thank God when bad things challenging things come up, but that I had been doing a pretty good job.  After all, unexpected car repairs alone were quite a challenge, but having thanked God for the challenge and the guidance to figure it out, so far, we seem to be doing well with that situation, and Trust that it will continue to go well.

Reverend Jim talked about how there’s this force in the universe, that when we start owning up to our faith in God, that the universe turns around and says, “oh really?”  Yep…really.  From the small things…like, trying to publish Sunday’s post but the web freezes up and you have to go back and write it over again to the best of your ability, to the big things, like getting dealt a big blow of someone’s health issues…now whatcha gonna do?  Every situation is a situation that you can evolve from…”the answer is in the challenge,” so says Reverend Jim.

Sometimes the challenge is finding what we are supposed to thank God for within those challenges.  How are we supposed to thank God when we don’t have enough money to pay for car repairs when we HAVE to repair the cars to make a 2,000 mile trek across the country in ten days because we took a leap of faith and decided to pick up our entire lives and move to Arizona?  Trust.  And thanking God that He is providing you with tools and resources necessary to enhance your mind and life with what you will need to progress in your life just because of this one challenge.  How is someone supposed to thank God when they find out someone they love is suffering from something that it seems like only a miracle can cure?  Trust.  And thanking God for all that you do have and will have with that person, and for what you will possess because of what that person will leave with you when they leave this world.

I have much to thank God for.  I could sit here all day list things that I am thankful for, but I have started getting into the habit already of thanking Him as often as I can, even in the midst of storms, or even in light drizzles, and of course, in the sunshine, so He knows all that I’ve thanked Him for.  It’s a good habit to have.  I’m down with being a Jesus-junkie!  Why not?  Why not submit my concept of power in this world to the one person in this world, who is aware of, and allows me to walk free in all my vulnerabilities lately, who loves me more than anyone, whom I have vowed my love and faithfulness to, to hold me in His hands?

~Lord, please wrap your arms around us and keep us in your safe and peaceful arms.  Watch over us and guide us as challenges arise and keep us from turning away when the storm gets rough.  Please keep us safe in our travels and see us through issues with health.  Thank you, Lord, for each and every blessing, those that we are aware of and those that we fail to recognize.  In your most holy and precious name, I pray.  Amen~

My Love Is Alive (Even though I feel half dead)

This week’s video is a simple one, folks.  Unfortunately, my time constraints with getting my last video worked out and able to play, and a busy schedule this week kept me from putting a lot of time into this one.  However, it did not keep me from putting in my full effort, thought, heart, and most of all, love of God behind it.  Enjoy.

Barbara Payton – My Love Is Alive (Detroit Native)

****AGAIN, AND MY APOLOGIES, BUT THIS IS A HOMEMADE VIDEO AND NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE VIA YOUTUBE, AND I’VE STILL BEEN UNABLE TO FIGURE A WAY TO UPLOAD DIRECTLY.  IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO CHECK OUT THE ARTIST THOUGH, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT****

I’m sitting here on my back porch, Saturday night, twenty minutes until ten, having just finished up the final touches on a very simple video for this week, smoking a cigarette to keep the skeeters away (if you’ll believe that), and exhausted as heck.  It was another yard sale day, trying to sell off some more stuff that we aren’t taking with us to Arizona in 16 days in an attempt to raise more travel expense money and moving cost money.  Today wasn’t as great as last weeks sale, but it was still a blessed day. 

All except for that phone call we got from our mechanic that we took my wife’s truck to so we could get the brakes fixed.  He’s a good guy…we trust him.  We had to get her brakes fixed because they were squeaking really bad and he gave us a good price, plus we have to take my truck in because there’s a rattle and I’m pretty sure I need brakes as well.  Considering we are driving across the country in 16 days, we’re going to need our vehicles in tip-top shape. 

Well, the mechanic called and told us it wasn’t the brakes, and what the actual problem is will cost us almost three hundred dollars more than what we had planned.  Major wrench in the operation, especially considering we haven’t even gotten my truck in yet, which I know is going to be the undertaking.  So…on to a whole new set of prayers…  🙂

I’ve been having more doctor appointments this week, trying to settle things up here before I head out of state.  So far, they say my heart looks good but I just need to watch my anxiety levels, as they may be associated with some of the symptoms I’m feeling.  Heh, and here I thought I was doing better.  I would say that I’m stressed because I’m 16 days away from moving (not like I’m counting), but these symptoms have been lasting longer than that.  I’m still awaiting results from an upper and lower GI procedure from Thursday and I have another procedure coming up next week.  If nothing is found, we’ll have to call it official….I’m absolutely crazy, lol.  So we’ve been praying a lot for health around here already, but we’ll keep those going, although I can fairly honestly say, I don’t think I feel half the anxiety I normally do considering all the circumstances going on right now.  Maybe it’s just not all registering….nah, I know what it is. 

I’m trusting that God hasn’t given us more than we can handle.  I’m not worrying about it because I’m praying about it.  I gave it to God and that’s the best I can do. 

Earlier in the week, actually, starting on Sunday, there was a big issue with the “Let’s Go Crazy” video from my last blog.  After I went through four days of making the video, which is actually a very short amount of time to make a video that was that “cool,” for lack of better term at the moment, I suddenly found that it was not able to be viewed due to copyright restrictions.  Ouch!  See, first of all, I have a YouTube page that I post all my videos to first because I, for some reason, can’t seem to upload any of my videos that I make directly to my posts on here.  It says I can…but I can’t.  Perhaps the wrong format, I don’t know.  Anyway, I’ve only run into this problem one other time before, but I ran into the problem again with this last video with the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince.  Apparently Warner Music Group really doesn’t like people using that song because in less than twenty-four hours of it being posted on my page, and after I had already published it to my blog, it was blocked for viewing. 

I panicked.  I was so proud of this video.  I love all the videos I make, especially since I can go back and look at the timeline of progress I’ve made in what I’ve learned to be able to do with them.  But there’s only a few of them that I am really psyched about!  And that video is one of them, and the fact that I couldn’t share it with anyone other than the people around me was driving me crazy.  I tried everything.  I couldn’t find the dispute form on YouTube that I had only found once before, I remade the video with a different song source…you know, trying to back-door the system thinking that they might not be able to “content id” a different source or something…didn’t work.  I uploaded it onto Facebook so at least just my friends could see…nope, they blocked me too! 

I started thinking bigger, I called my pastors at my church and asked them if I could show it at the church.  Well, they have the same problems….copyrights!  Gah! 

It all keeps coming back to Prayers and Patience it seems….okay.  Take a deep breath, that dispute form is somewhere.  We’ve prayed before to change the hearts of people who may not be giving us a fair shake before…sometimes it’s worked, sometimes not so much, what’s the harm?  Within minutes I found the dispute form, offered up my statement of good faith that I meant no harm, that the video was intended as inspirational, and submitted it.  I let it go and checked back the next day…well, it’s still up.  Thank you, God and people at YouTube and WMG.

So now the weekend comes to a close, it’s Saturday night.  Like I said, it’s been a long week.  My brother, sister-in-law, and nephews are in town…they have been all week, and were having a family get-together over at my other brother’s house tonight.  Unfortunately, because of such busy schedules, previous plans, and plain exhaustion, I wasn’t able to make the drive to go to the party.  We have tentative plans to see each other after church tomorrow, and I’m going to do my best to get out that way, but again…plans and time. 

I guess here is where I have to look to God to help me figure out what to do.  I have my parents telling me what I “should” do, because I’m 34 years old and that’s what every 34 year old has, their parents telling them what to do.  I “should” go, if at the very least to see my nephews…yes, this is true.  I should go to see them all, I love them all and I miss them.  They live far away and we don’t get to see each other much.  My struggle comes in with the part where I have so much going on and so little time and gas money to get it all done with.  My brother has been here for a week, and I don’t know where they have all been in that amount of time…it’s not my business to know or care, however, I know one day has been given to family to be able to see them.  Their schedule has always been a tight one and I find myself struggling to fit into it without it being an inconvenience to either side, and that’s the part that sucks about it. 

After church tomorrow, we are supposed to be finishing up this garage sale then hauling every last bit of garbage out of this house and garage so that nothing is left here except what is being moved.  It’s going to be another long and busy day, followed by another long and busy week that, as of right now, we’re not financially prepared for…yes, the truck. 

So now, I’m going to pray that at some point tomorrow, I’ll have a solid answer, followed up with love and not just obligation, that a good compromise will come up in order for my family and I to be able to get together.  I’ll also be praying for safety of all of our travels, guidance in all of our decisions, strength during our trials, and positive results during all health related concerns coming up this week.  Thank you, God, for all  your blessings, those big and those too subtle for our small minds to recognize.  My heart, soul and mind remain open to all that you have to offer, Lord, as I commit to offer all that I have to you, Lord.  Amen.

So church was this morning and the service was wonderful, as usual.  Rev talked about becoming “evolved people” in our spiritual journey.  He talked about how the patterns of thought and behavior in our lives can keep us from our spiritual destinies.  In other words…practice what we preach!  If we are believers and followers of Jesus, then do so with the commitment that we preach to others. 

He even gave us steps to help guide us!  Yes!  Directions!  Some of us aren’t very good at figuring things out on our own, especially in the beginning…so now we have guidelines.

1.  Figure out who you’re going to serve!  God or your Ego?  Are you going to get caught up in God or in the conditions that surround you?  Need help?  “The Lord is my shepherd….and that’s all that I want”

2.  Give thanks each day, each moment for what most people ordinarily take for granted.  Give thanks even in the midst of the storm because God is preparing you to elevate you to grow.  You’re thinking, “yeah…but…” right?  That’s what Rev. Jim said too.  Response?  “As long as you keep saying ‘yeah, but,’ your butt is going to be in your way!”

3.  Give to live until you live to give!  Turn you “me-ness” in to “we-ness.”  Giving comes in all different forms, doesn’t always have to be just money.  God has blessed everyone with gifts to pass on to everyone that can bless someone, and blessings come back from unexpected places, they don’t just ping back from the people in your own circle.  Remember the four T’s – Tithe of your Time, Talent, and Treasures.

4.  Know how to forgive!  Forgive ourselves.  Do not place guilt, blame or shame on yourself, it has no spiritual platform in your life to bounce you toward a higher ground, only hold you down.  Just admit you made a mistake, apologize, make amends, and move on.  If they can’t move on with you, then love from a distance.

5.  Celebrate life rather than view life as a problem to be solved.  We will always run into trials, but with Jesus as our savior, we can Trust that He can help guide us through all that we face, and through Him, celebrate all that we overcome and the people we have become because of His love.

6.  Understand the value of “down time.”  No, this does not mean be a couch potato every chance you get.  This means, take every opportunity you get to commit to meditation or whatever means necessary to further your spiritual journey.  Take time to get in touch with your spiritual self.  Every other religion is strict about it!  We can get a little more strict with ourselves about it too!  “Stay prayed up”  Don’t wait until the going gets tough to pray…just pray because…

7.  Let go and let God.  You’ve done all that you can do.  You’re a human being and you have limitations.  In the grand scheme of it all, God has the final plan, and it is His will and you are His faithful servant doing the best you can do according to what you honestly believe is His will for you.  So at the end of the day, after all your prayers, worries, heartaches, aggravations, etc…let go and let God.

Amen.  God bless!

Let’s Go Crazy!!

**It took some prayer and patience, but I finally pleaded with YouTube, and so far, my video is working**

So usually, I would post the song/video first for you…perhaps you would press play and watch the video first and then read what I had to say, or maybe press play and read while you listened, but this time, I felt it somewhat necessary to post some lyrics to this song for you to read before listening and watching.

It’s a song I’ve listened to since I was a kid…love it, it’s a total party song!  But , I heard a message in it, I got inspired, I was called to dig a little deeper and run with it, so I did.  When just listening to the song, the lyrics aren’t the easiest to understand, but when you read them and listen along, it’s almost amazing how spiritual the song becomes.  That is, however, if you’re able to come up with some form of symbolism of your own (since you are not the artist formerly known as Prince) for the “purple banana,” which I did. I already added the lyrics to the first part of the song on the video, yes, I made the video too, so I’ll just catch you up to date on the rest of the lyrics…

Let’s go Crazy – Prince

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one – Dr Everything’ll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby
Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own
And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy – punch a higher floor

If you don’t like the world you’re living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

You see I called my old lady
For a friendly word
She picked up the phone
Dropped it on the floor
……    is all I heard

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no Let’s Go!

Let’s go crazy
Let’s get nuts
Let’s look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!

We’re all excited
But we don’t know why
Maybe it’s cause
We’re all gonna die
And when we do (When we do)
What’s it all for (What’s it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Tell me, are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let’s go!
Let’s go crazy
Let’s get nuts
Look for the purple banana
‘Til they put us in the truck, let’s go!

C’mon baby
Let’s get nuts
Yeah
Crazy
Let’s go crazy
Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let’s go!
Go crazy
I said let’s go crazy (Go crazy)
Let’s go, let’s go
Go
Let’s go

Dr. Everything’ll be alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and dafodills will kill
Hang tough children

He’s coming
He’s coming
Coming

****THIS VIDEO IS NOT THE ORIGINAL VIDEO THAT ACCOMPANIED THIS BLOG, NOR THE ORIGINAL VERSION BY PRINCE, NOR IS THIS MY VIDEO IN ANY WAY.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND PRINCE TRACKS AS HE HAS HIS WORK ENTIRELY PROTECTED, EVEN AGAINST PEOPLE LIKE ME, IT SEEMS 😦 ****

So, this week has been a mostly inspiring week.  Of course, it’s had a few rocky moments, I had to grit my teeth, hold my tongue, pray pray pray….but,  hey, everything seems to work out okay.

After last week’s post, my family and I went over to a friend of the family’s house.  My wife is looking for them to be in-laws one day.  It was a nice little July 4th celebration, nothing extravagant, not a lot of people, good tunes, good food, good times.  It was definitely something to be thankful for, and definitely something that I drew inspiration from.

Our friend has been working in her back yard for quite some time, doing many different things to it, trying to find the right…hmm…mood for the yard.  I hadn’t been over there in quite some time, however, when I got there last time, I was in awe.  It was beautiful.  She told me that while she was working the past few weeks, she essentially came across every item, whether she knew it at the time or not, that she was going to need for her yard, and then over a couple weekends, she decided she was just going to get it done.  She had an idea for something special, peaceful, serene…and there, lo and behold, were all the tools and items that she was going to need to do the job, including the manpower to do it.  So she did it!  Why not?  Why wait?  If you have a moment for peace in your life, even if you have to make it happen, create a space for it, whatever it’s going to take to make it work for you…do it, build it, make it happen.  Go crazy with it!

It even reminds me of my family when we took my Aunt up on the offer to sing karaoke after dinner at their house just for the heck of it.  It’s just a little system, we sang songs off the internet that we pulled off YouTube or songs that she had in her library, we had to sing over the artist, but that made us had to sing louder, sing with all we had…and we sang together, we sang what meant something to us…and we had fun.  We just went crazy, and even veered off from singing and started dancing the hustle and cupid shuffle.  ::shrug:: We had a blast.  She said it’s a liberating feeling to just sing sometimes…shout…sing it out.  I don’t have a great voice, but I love to sing…sing to the heavens like it’s my own little concert.  It makes me feel like I’m somehow cleansing my mind and body of pent up frustration and energy…be it positive or negative.  So go nuts with that too!  Shout to the Lord!

The point is, there is always a chance to do something, to make a difference in your day and in someone else’s without doing just for yourself.  Doing your job doesn’t mean that at the end of your day, you only did what you’re supposed to do…you may have really helped somebody that didn’t have anyone else that could help them, and you were their blessing, and being that blessing to them, will in turn, come back around to you.  The infamous “helping the old lady across the street” deed really can be a blessing to that old lady if she really does need help and everyone else just passes her by, but you take a few minutes from what you’re doing to help her out, you will have been her blessing, and you never know, she might turn out to be a blessing to you.

Seize those opportunities to do the right things, even when we’re “too busy” doing our own things.  Spend time with your family, take a leap of faith, help others JUST because it’s the right thing to do, and that’s what Jesus would do.  Don’t try to make an extra buck at a garage sale on a pair of five-year old jeans that don’t fit you anymore when you can donate them to a church for people who can’t afford to buy clothes, but who can walk into a church and just get them….trust in God that you will get the money that you’re after by selling the things that people can afford to just HAVE…don’t sell things that people NEED.  Have fun!!!  Take the moments in life to have fun, but do it without hurting anyone, take your friends and family into consideration, make sure everyone is accounted for that is supposed to be on your team, otherwise…you forfeited the game because you failed to look inside your heart and pay attention to the, so called, “little people.”

God loves you.  He never said He didn’t.  He wants you in Heaven.  He died for YOU, for ALL of us to get there.  It must be A-freakin-mazing!  I can’t wait!  (Well, yes, I can…I don’t want to go anytime soon…you know what I mean) He’s made it so easy for us.  We have to trust that He will protect us, keep us safe, answer our prayers as HE sees fit, abide by His commandments…which honestly are fairly easy because they are based off right and wrong anyway, and not matters of the heart…and none of them say judge your neighbor, by the way….spread His word, commit to Him as our Lord and Savior, and there ya go.  Heaven, and our Lord Jesus Christ awaits!!  I think I got the gist of it…I’m still learning The Bible, but I do know a sin is a sin is a sin….otherwise, the aforementioned is fairly accurate, I’m certain.  How crazy is that???

Prince…ahem, ‘scuse me, The Artist Formerly Known As, refers to “looking for a purple banana” in his lyrics to the song.  My friends, I can’t tell you exactly what he meant, I can only tell you what I think, how I interpreted this…the purple banana…that ever elusive intangible mystery known as God, Jesus…we have The Bible, but people want to tell us it’s just a story!  We have faith, but people want to tell us it’s just a feeling associated with this story we’ve been told all these years. They want to tell us we’re crazy, our beliefs aren’t tangible enough to be proven and therefore cannot exist.

Friends, when so many people have such a strong “feeling” about this dude named “Jesus,” who has an entire, I don’t even know how many page book written about Him, in really small letters, double columns, single spaced…and that book tells us that He is NOT tangible and that He is a man of miracles and not science, then can we be crazy enough to rock this world in the name of Jesus until the people who said we’re crazy for having faith can’t help but to have faith too?

Come on, everyone, rock with me!!  Spread the word with me!!  Get inspired with me and inspire others.  Take the tools that God gave YOU…whatever your “thing” is…roll with it.  I listen to music and make videos, that’s what I do…and believe me, my friends, before these videos…I was in a very dark place…and I have the videos to prove it.  One day, I’ll share the link.  But for now…take the tools that you have, or borrow mine….tell your friends and family about this song, this video, this blog, take the idea of taking a regular song and finding God in it….He’s everywhere!!

Trust me!

So, I just got out of church, and, just like last Sunday…the message seemed to fit perfectly with everything above.  Seems Rev. Jim and I are on the same wave length or somethin, lol.  The message was “A New Heaven and A New Earth.”  He told us that by following the teachings of Christ, and taking that torch, the light that God gives us, it will manifest within us to have the power to see clearly and experience the world in a way that we are better equipped and able to handle it, ourselves, and others better.  And that while, as True followers of Christ, all will be well…stuff is still going to happen, but you will still have the power within you that is greater than the circumstances around you.  Always remember, intelligence does not work with Faith, trust is the foundation of faith…and that while it is good to honor and respect that channel by which your faith is fed, such as you pastor, it is right to ONLY worship the source being God.

When it comes time that things are low, when you’ve reached that point that you don’t know what else to do and you are yearning for help…there’s ONE you can count on, the ONE that ALWAYS wins in the end, and it has been written that way….there is a simple start to help you on your journey.  Rev Jim invited us to start here…at the beginning of the 23rd Psalm…so I will invite you as well.  When the spit hits the fan and you need to hitch a ride to a new to beginning…remember…”The Lord is my Shepherd…”

So The Lord is my Shepherd whom is guiding my way at the moment in almost everything I do.  I have 20-some days until I move my family across country to Arizona, and it was all done on a leap of faith and a “why not” decision.  We already found a church that we’ll be going to and are excited to get there and see how we can be of service there.  I’m really hoping that my blog and videos will find their way into the right hands so that the tools I already possess can be useful, if not, I’m sure that I have other gifts that will be just as helpful to someone.  We still have packing to do, summer school for our daughter to get through, some regular drama at home, realization of how much we’re going to miss Rev Jim and Rev Rick at our church, along with The Gospel Truth choir and the band at our church, and that guy in the front row over by the choir who seems physically challenged but dances his heart out ALL the time.  I wish I had gotten a chance to introduce myself to him…there’s still time.  We’ve wasted so much time here…but I’m so committed to making the most of my time and Faith now…I’m loving life and my Shepherd…

Thank you, God, for kicking me in the bootie!

“Dear Lord, thank you for all the blessings of the day, the big and little, for watching over us in our travels and for helping us reach our goals toward our move to Arizona.  Lord, I ask that you continue to watch over us in our health and travels over the next few weeks, as we all have many places to go and doctors to see, please guide us with patience and strength through trials and struggles.  In your most Holy and Precious name, I pray to you, Lord.  Amen”

Roll to Me…nah….Him

So we’ve tried very hard in our family to make it a habit to have family meals around the dinner table at least a few times a week.  We used to do it all the time, a few years ago, when it was just the three of us, my wife, daughter and myself.  But for many reasons, over the last year, even with a larger family unit, we haven’t shared dinner around the table quite as much as we used to, and should have.

We’ve taken in extra teenagers into our home to help them with their needs, not that they have special needs, but they have, or had, needs that were not able to be met in their home situation, so we took them in to help them out, get them the rest of the way through school, and hopefully give them the wings to fly.  And it’s been a blessing to have them in our lives…I can only hope we have been a blessing in theirs.

Unfortunately, sometimes having extra teenagers in the house, extra people, extra stress factors around your kids, and your own selves, when you and/or they might already have stress and/or anxiety issues to deal with, can become problematic.  And then at some point, when only two adults are in the house and the rest of the house is taken up by teens, those adults might tend to feel like they have lost their space and want to seek solitude and just make sure they keep an eye on the teens but not want to be around all the “thump-de-thump” from the speakers from whatever hip-hop video is pulled up on YouTube or the sound of machine guns killing zombies on the Playstation.  Regardless, our house became chaotic and we ran from it.

Now we are trying to pull back, not only our faith, but our family.  And while I’ve been on my journey for a couple weeks now, and my wife on her own, with her own struggles along the way, the hard part is trying to encourage our daughter to even see a path at all.  Usually, at the dinner table, I require that the television is off and there is no cell phone usage, but the last couple times, I’ve allowed the computer to be pulled up in the dining room so we can have some music playing in the back ground.  The other night, our daughter had her Pandora playlist up, which she was about to turn off, but I told her not to.  We said grace and just started to eat, however moments later, a song came up that was fun sounding, one that we all knew and liked, a song from the 90’s, I believe…just a fun sounding song.  We bopped our heads and sang along…and all I could think of was my mom saying “sing before dinner…cry before breakfast.”  Or maybe it was the other way around…I’m not sure, either way, I never understood the meaning of it anyway.  So we sat, ate, sang, enjoyed…but then my ears, and my wife’s, started hearing the song a completely different way…and our daughter started hearing it differently as well, and discussing it with us, and sharing with us about God.  So that sparked the idea for the song, which was not even in my playlist, but my daughter’s…and then the rest of the week sparked the ideas for making the video behind it.

Of course the week came with struggles…every single day seems to come with something that just isn’t easy to get through, or make a decision on, or something or someone that makes the day somewhat challenging just because of personality differences.  I can only think of one day that I had that was pretty much a perfect day, and that’s because I decided to make it that way…I listened to what was inside of me, screaming at me, telling me to do this to save myself from acts of stupidity, and I did it.  I actually brought my lounge outside to enjoy the day with my wife…not an easy task but, it wasn’t the entire lounge either so it wasn’t a large task.  Nonetheless…I gave that gift to myself…I showed mercy to myself, for my sake and probably the sake of others.

There’s a bigger picture to all of this, which I touched on a little last week, I believe.  It’s struggle.  It seems that no matter where we are in our journey, or how great we think things are in our life, or how well we think we are doing, there is always some sort of struggle…either in the little picture we call our life or in the big picture we call the world.  But no matter what picture we’re looking at, it effects us all, individually. 

The struggles of the world make it harder for each person to cope with the struggles they are going through in their own little world, and the harder it gets for that person to cope with their own personal struggles, the harder it is for them to care, and cope, with the bigger picture and struggles, to the point that the bigger picture gets pushed so far in the corner that it no longer matters as much to the individual.  But the problem is, it happens to so many individuals that all those individuals put together make up such a large mass of the population that it brings the world down.  Once the world starts failing, the mass of faith starts failing, then where do we go from there?  It’s almost like a rockstar situation….if a rockstar was on top once because of all his fans, but then the fans start criticizing too, and lose hope in his capabilities to produce quality albums, then he loses his fan base and next thing you know…he’s a has-been and nobody wants to talk about him and people get laughed at and blasted if they do talk about him.  It’s the same thing that’s happening now…so many people seem to have lost their faith in God because of disasters and things that are outside of their control, due to technologies and raping of the natural earth, and government is allowing us less an less freedom to talk about God, that people are turning their backs on their once favorite Rockstar. They’re not paying attention to themselves, what their inner-selves, what their OWN faith, values, morals, love is telling them to do.  They’re not looking around at their OWN world and their not really looking at the world around them, just accepting it and going with the flow because they feel like there’s nothing they can do about it.  But there is…everyone can do something.  It takes just one person to touch another…to touch another…to touch another….

In church today, Rev. Jim touched on Armageddon.  The Book of Revelations.  The book of doom and gloom and how everyone looks at it like a threat.  But he said something pretty cool, and that was, if we took the “h” out if threat, we could turn it into a “treat,” and that’s exactly how the book of Revelations should be read, as a treat, given to us as knowledge and preparation, armor.  It’s about how that generation turned into a degeneration of faith, the breakdown of spiritual principles by the Roman Empire by crushing Christian values, much like today where the Government is crushing Christian values by telling us that we can’t say God’s name in schools, even when it’s Pledge of Allegiance, what our country was founded on.  We’re even being told that we can’t use God’s name in prayers in funeral service at military services when our men and women fight and die for this country now.  We’re being told that it’s okay for men and women of this earth to judge other men and women for what they do to their own bodies and whom they love, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there is a power greater than any one on this earth that IS going to do that for us when the time comes.  We have allowed Government, men and woman, and ourselves, to let God get taken over…and that’s not cool. 

God knows and sees everything that everyone does, thinks, and feels.  He’s knows what we are charged with in our life and what we have to face and what we can and will have to handle, but if we don’t have faith…TRUST…in Him, then why should He be there for us in the end if we haven’t asked him to be?  Truly asked Him to be!  God has given us everything in our life, and will continue to do so, to compete and battle with all of our own daily struggles and to help fight against the bigger battles with Him as long as we don’t get so caught up in the negative drama of the soap operas of life’s reality shows.  The daily drama of our lives and other people’s lives that, ultimately, will bring us down in the end.  We have to keep focus on shining up the armor that God has provided for us to continue to learn and grow in our own spirituality so that we may help ourselves and help the world through Him….after all, He’s the one who made it, can’t we trust that He knows best how to help us help fix it? 

Like Rev. Jim always says…”there’s a power within me that’s greater than the condition before me.”  And I intend to use…through this blog and with this music…to capture anyone’s attention that I can…to spread the word, spread the tune…whatever it does…I’m doing what I can.  This is my armor and I’m shining it up and adding pieces to it as often as I can so that I can be prepared to serve Him and the world He created for me. 

How can you do it to?  So there’s a recovery plan…first you have to humble yourself before God, accept the fact that you have reached the point that you can’t do this yourself and you’re in the dark and He is your light.  Trust that He will show you the way and just follow Him.  And love….people, please…I beg of you, and trust me on this one, no matter who it is, what color they are, what gender they are, what gender they love, what nationality they are, what they look like, how old, how young, what their beliefs are….just love….because He does. 

And everyday, when you encounter that struggle…be it part of the big picture, or the little picture…right then…Roll to God.

God Bless….