I Alone

This week was one of…hmm…I’d be lying if I said anything other than turmoil.  I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s been full of blessings and glory, just because I write a blog of how God does such things, and how our cup hath seemed to runneth over with such over the past few months.  The past couple of weeks, things have been growing troublesome for me, as you know, for lack of inspiration, problems with movers, little things here and there, but for the most part, they have been things that have not been hard to overcome.  This week, from the jump, it’s almost as if grace and glory came to a screeching halt, and thus, began the heartache and obstacles that once clouded my life.

The movers arrived Sunday evening, as they said they would, however, they were not able to fit the semi-truck into the complex (like the agent at our complex said they would) so immediately there was a problem.  Instead of just having to worry about a potential extra charge for a long haul because our apartment was an extra fifty feet from the parking lot, they now had to go get a different truck and transfer everything from the semi to a shorter truck.  Charge?  $300!  Avoidable?  No.  Since it was about seven at night by the time we could work out the details, nothing could be done, couldn’t get a U-Haul, and had to reschedule for Monday morning…BUT…I had to pay in advance for the transfer…by credit card.  Ooookay.  “I’ll be emailing you an authorization form to fill out and fax back tonight with your credit card information and signature.”  That sounded all fine and dandy except for the fact that both of my printers were on the moving truck!  So I had to haul ass over to our cousin’s house to print up the form, fill it out, then find a Kinko’s to fax it.  One would think it would be much easier to find such a place that was open late on a Sunday in a college town…but, alas, it’s not.  Something to remember in the future should I ever be in a rush to fax anything, don’t wait until late on a Sunday.  I managed to find a place, after looking for a very specific location for half an hour…trust me this place was hidden but visible if you knew where it was…and faxed it over.

The guys came Monday morning, carelessly dropped off our stuff, one of the younger guys was quite mouthy, then took off…not without asking for a nice report back to their quality control manager, as they were standing there.  What were we to do?  Tell the truth?  No…we were afraid of getting charged for the long carry still, which could have been another 100 bucks just for another fifty feet.  100 bucks that we didn’t have.  Things were broken, things were taped that shouldn’t have been that we can’t get the adhesive off, like a leather couch, and they tried to charge us the original invoice amount which was wrong and when I called to handle it, it almost became an issue.  Oh well, it’s all over now, and we’re still unpacking.

We picked up our daughter later that day and tried to brace her for the fact that a couple of her things got broken that meant a lot to her.  Turned out that she wasn’t as upset as we thought, thankfully.  Later on, however, everything went downhill even more.  Attitude.  There I was in a sea of boxes trying to do whatever I could to make some sort of sense of it all, feeling like I was getting nowhere.  My wife was working on the kitchen and helping out elsewhere where she could.  Our daughter was concerned only with her room, her things and herself, as she usually is.  I asked for a couple of favors throughout the day and her attitude started working overtime.  It had hardly even been a few hours that she was home from school and she had broken me down to a point that I hadn’t been in a long time.

How can you love someone and want so badly to run from them?  Even if it means running from the person that you are in love with because they are a package deal?  How is that fair?  It sucks when your mind and heart makes you think and feel like that person, although a child of God, is not a Godly person, yet is your own personal demon, at times, there to destroy your morale, your faith in humanity, and most importantly, your faith in God.  When the wickedness of their actions and tongue are more consistent than their kindness, you start to shield yourself against them, whilst praying for them, despite their apologies…because their apologies feel disingenuous.  It hurts just as much to feel that way about someone you consider your child than it does to be hurt because of the way that child treats you…like you are their servant, their emotional and verbal punching bag, like you are a piece of shit and no matter what you do for them, it doesn’t matter.  They can’t be thankful even if you tried, because it doesn’t matter to them anyway, but if it matters to them, you’re expected to do it.  In their life, they are god, and you are there to serve them, and if you don’t, your life will be hell, so much so that every aspect of your life will suffer….that is, unless, you are doing everything right…for them.

So that was Monday.  Tuesday, she stayed home, she was sick.  We had errands to run to be able to put up things that needed to go on shelves…shelves that we didn’t have and had to go buy.  She was told to do the dishes by the time we got home and did not, and therefore, earned a week of dish duty.  Wednesday, we continued unpacking and got quite a bit done, with the help of my mother-in-law…thank God she was here to help.  Not that we couldn’t have done it without her, but it was nice that she was here to help.  Thursday, I started getting sick so we called it a “do nothing and relax” day, in fact, it’s been like that since.  Friday we took MamaT to the doctor and had lunch then my wife and I had a date night, although by then I was starting to feel worse.   Yesterday, we still did nothing…all of us laid around all day…enjoyed the heck out of it too.  In fact, I didn’t even work on my blog yesterday, which is something I normally do…work on the first half on Saturday, then complete the last half, the sermon message and my interpretation, today….then post.  But, alas, my week sucked, wasn’t feeling well, and here I am…doing it all now.  Talk about waiting until the last minute to do a project!  Not that I feel pressured or anything or like this is a chore…actually, up until a little bit ago, I had declared that I wasn’t going to do it at all this week.  Why? 

Because my demon struck again, after church, everything came full circle and as if my week hadn’t been rocked enough, now, I feel like I’m hanging on with one finger.  And what was the sermon about today?  Ha…Discipline!

Warning!!  This video has snakes!!

Curious about why this video?  Perhaps you should check out Luke 8:22. 

I’m a follower of Jesus.  I disciple, if you will.  In a storm right now, because of everything going on, the circumstances around me, and I’m afraid because, well…everything is unknown…and that, in itself, is new to me.  I’m still new to this, I’ve just set sail a little while ago, and my teacher, Jesus, well…while I know He’s there, the seas are rough and the winds seem to be blowing the rain so much that I’m having trouble seeing and hearing Him right now.  Again, all I have is my Faith that He’s there and that, if I steady my sails as much as I can, He will guide me where I need to be, despite the temptations of those that may try to swamp me.  But it takes much discipline to be a follower, it takes much discipline to be many things in life.  It takes discipline just to want to be alive sometimes…especially when all we really want is what is right, was it just, what is Godly in our lives, what is peaceful.

Cal spoke today of times back when, before this generation became less self-serving and more serving of God, at least, that’s what I make of it.  Times when abortion wasn’t the first answer to a moment of bad judgment and people just let that child be born as the child of God that it was intended to be, and of when doctors would just admit there was nothing more that could be done because it’s not God’s will, and we could let that loved one go without further suffering and technological interference, because Heaven awaited us all who served Him.  He spoke of times when it was okay for us to pray in schools, that place that served as a platform for our life to take us wherever we were going to go in life, or even read The Bible, the very foundation of our core morals and values of life, so that we may jump from one platform to the next with dignity and integrity to become whatever it is that God may have in store for us.

But now, the world, this country, runs interference on our souls, on our children’s souls and for our chance at peace and glory.  People have become self-serving and only seek what is good for them, if it happens to please others while in the process, then that profit is an unintended, and often times over-played, by-product…meaning, if they get gratitude from it, they want to hear it over and over again until it becomes annoying to give it.  People have become interested in “fast – fixes, such as abortion.  They made a bad judgment call, or made a mistake, or something bad happened and caused this to happen, still, who are we to fix something that God didn’t break?  And who are we to extend what God said it’s time for?  And who are we to say that we are not allowed to read and pray what humanity, this country, was founded under?  For am I mistaken?  Was this country’s laws and values not founded under God?

But it’s a different world now, and the people of this generation no longer abide by those laws, values, and morals.  They look to themselves before looking to God for direction, and are therefore, lost and without the discipline necessary to help, even themselves, find their way back to shore to safety. 

According to Dictionary.com, the word “discipline” has five different definitions.  1.  Training to act in accordance with the rules.  2.  Activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill.  3.  Punishment inflicted by way of correcting and training.  4.  The rigor or training effect of experience, adversity.  5.  Behavior in accord with the rules of conduct;  Behavior and order maintained by training and control.

So now that we’ve defined what “discipline” is in the English language, what does it mean within Faith.  How does it fit within Faith, and specifically, within life?  Well, first of all.  To have Faith means to fervently believe with all of your heart and soul that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior and that He died on the Cross for your sins.  If you believe that, then you also believe that it wasn’t easy for Him to live his life the way He needed to in order for Him to spread His message of God, of love, of peace, of the Heaven that awaits us all should we accept Him into our lives and do our absolute best to live Christ-like.  It took a great deal of discipline for Him to do so, and if you know about “The Passion,” then you know the amount of discipline, physically, emotionally, mentally, faithfully, it took for Him just to make it to the mountain and make it onto His own cross.  Justly, if it took discipline for Him, then so too did it take his disciples, his followers, those who believed whole-heartedly in the words, actions, miracles of Him.  They did not join His clan one day, just start walking behind Him, eating the bread and drinking the wine, just because they said they believed.  No…they too had their trials and tribulations and their work cut out for them.  They too made mistakes for which they needed to be disciplined by the Lord.  Mistakes, however, are part of life, and can only be a mistake and not a habit unless it is corrected, and that is through discipline.  It is important to remember that “discipline doesn’t contradict love; discipline expresses love.”

Prov 22:15 – Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away

Prov 13:24 – Whoever hates their children spares the rod, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline

Prov 19:18 – Discipline your children, for in that there is hope, do not be a willing party to their death

Prov 29:17 – Discipline your children and they will give you peace, they will bring you the delights you desire

So what’s all this about discipline and children?  You thought I was talking about discipline and your own walk with God right?  Well, I am!  At the moment.  Because discipline is the same as discipleship.  If you are a follower of God, then you are a disciple of God, and therefor, you must hold fast and strong to your own discipline within your discipleship.  God is always there, and in his way, with his own rod, disciplining you…not that you may be doing anything wrong, but that you are in training, that you need improving, because you are His child and that, because He is your Father, He wants you to be the best you can be.  Therefore, not for punishment’s sake, but for the sake for maturation, may He have you tossing about in a storm that seems relentless at the moment, for there may be a lesson there that you, and quite possibly others in that same boat, may need to learn before the seas calm and you can continue your journey.  Continue to set the sails of His Word and His Spirit, surrounding yourselves with Godly people, and you will weather the storm, but cower and hide in the dark of the cabin, the devil will surely find you and your boat will flounder and flip, for you have forgotten your training, lost your Faith, lost your way.  If you lose your way, the devil will find you, because we’re more inclined to hear words of temptation towards potential solid ground than a whisper of hope towards the unknown land.

So my boat is out at sea, and it’s tossing and turning, floundering, but I’m gripping onto every rail I can to keep from falling out of the vessel that’s carried me all this way so that the devil won’t drag me under.  And this takes two types of discipline…my own to God, and to my daughter.  I know she’s been disciplined, with words, with a hand across her fanny as a small child, (sorry if you disagree, but I disagree with “new parenting…if you look at what I’ve written with an honest eye and open heart, you’d see that the new generation of 20-something’s and younger and brats because of time-out’s and etc), and she’s had discipline with punishment of grounding and extra chores as she’s gotten older.  So now what?  What kind of discipline does a parent dole out to a child of God who is, 90% of the time, ungodly, to her family and friends…yet will turn around and give a homeless man her last five dollars?  Do you take what you can get and deal with the humiliation that she unleashes onto you?  Do you let her put you in a place that makes you feel like you want to give up on everything, including your own Faith, because she makes you question if God can really exist if it can’t even exist in your own daughter?  Do you stop talking to her all together, which is your first inclination, because that’s what you learned as a child while watching Bambi…”if you can’t say anything nice…don’t say anything at all!”  What, Oh God, kind of discipline, is in store for your child that you have placed in my hands?  What am I to learn so that I am to teach her to when all that I want, so badly, is for her to first and foremost, is to have even just a hint of Faith, and all she does is argue about having it all.  I’m stuck!  I need help!  I’m crying out for all the angels in Heaven to help us!  When parental discipline has failed one of two children, and they were both disciplined the same way, how then does discipline help in this case with the one that doesn’t respond to it?

Prov 12:1 Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge, but whoever hates discipline is stupid

Psalm 141:5 – Let a righteous man strike me – that is a kindness; let him rebuke me, that is oil on my head.  My head will not refuse it, for my prayers will still be against the deed of evildoers.

I still sit without an answer on this one, as if it were a riddle, ungodly, which is the hardest part, because to think that way about your own child feels like a sin.  And for the, Lord, I am sorry.  Although I won’t give up the fight.  I won’t stop trying to induce the truth, one day, it might set in…

For now, I guess the discipline is still in my hands.  And my teacher, He’s still trying to teach me a lesson.  And while this storm leaves my sky cloudy, I will look through every cloud for that ray of sun to find a direction to travel, and squint through the rain that pounds against my face, making me want to look down in defeat…but I won’t.  There’s something there that is meant for me…and dangit…I’ma find it!

Prov 6:23 – For this command is a lamp, this teaching is a light, and correction and instruction are the way to life.

~Dear, Lord, Thank you for all the blessing you have given me, even though I’ve struggled to see them through this storm.  Please guide me through the waves of my journey and help me to guide those around me, and help those around me to guide me as well, as we are all your children and all capable of hearing and spreading your word to each other in times of need.  Please help those who lack in Faith find it, please help us with patience and understanding, health and safety.  Please help us to keep our eyes, ears, hearts, and spirits open to you, Lord, so that we may hear your call and your message, so we may continue to do your works, spread your word, and be of faithful service to you.  In your most precious and holy name I pray, Lord.  Amen~

I’m gonna give what you need!

Doesn’t it make you curious why I chose this song?  The explanation is at the bottom…but will you choose to read the whole thing?

It’s Saturday afternoon, early afternoon, and I just woke up a couple hours ago.  I’ve been laying in bed, tossing and turning, got up and smoked a cigarette, came back to bed, checked Facebook and Twitter, and now it’s onto this.  My blog.  This is what I do.  This is my only thing I do right now in my life that I’ve made myself be accountable for, even though I’m sure if I didn’t post it some Sunday, nobody would miss it, considering I really don’t have any followers that I’m aware of, other than my faithful and loving wife.

It’s more than that though, it’s like I said in the beginning, with my first blog, the fact that God took my hand and held me so tight that I just can’t let Him, myself, or even that one person that might be reading this down, that they might find that one piece of inspiration from this blog that may help them that day, just because of my testimony or my notes from church or just some random crap that I’m venting about from my week.

Yet, like last week, I’m still struggling.  I’m not regretting my move here to Tempe from Detroit.  I love it here.  I don’t regret taking that leap of faith.  It’s just that now that I’m here, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.  It’s like I can’t hear anything, I can’t see anything, not like I used to…I can’t find what it is I’m looking for or whatever it is that may be looking for me can’t find me.  I’ve never had to search for songs before, they would just come to me, hit me…yet, the last two weeks, it’s been at the last minute that it’s hit me or I’ve had to search deep.  And as far as the inspiration for messages, well, it’s like I have to listen twice as hard to hear it.

So this week has been kind of hard for me, lacking in inspiration, feeling a little lost here, nothing to do, nowhere to go, without a purpose.  We still have no furniture and, honestly, I have no idea when we’re going to get it, as I keep getting the run-around from the moving company.  It’s not like I’ve been calling them every day, just once a week, but so far, it seems like all lies.  I have to completely leave it in God’s hands now, praying that our property gets to us safely and undamaged, that our drivers have a safe journey to us, and that from here on out, He will make it so that we are treated fairly and with respect, as we’ve been treating them.  I thank Him in advance for this.  Amen.

The highlight of my week;  Major highlight!!  I met Bam Margera!  If you don’t know who Bam Margera is, he is most famous for being in the Jackass movies and Viva La Bam.  Yes, it’s true, in those movies he’s known for doing crazy-wild stunts, doing things that are totally inconsiderate to people’s property, doing whatever the hell he wants…basically.  But if you really watch, beyond the stunts, beyond the crap that he would pull, he always took care of the people around him.  So he might make April and Phil’s (his mom and dad) vacation a living hell for the first couple nights, but he’d follow it up with an amazing dream come true.  Yes, he let Vito’s car plummet down from a tree top (don’t ask why it was up there in the first place, it’s just easier that way), you don’t think he replaced the car?  The point is, he’s a good man, a good friend.  Yes, he does whatever the hell he wants, but he takes care of the people he loves whilst doing it.

So when I found he was going to be in Scottsdale at American Junkie (a bar) on Wednesday, I couldn’t pass up going.  My wife and I got there early just so we wouldn’t have to wait in line.  Chatted it up with the bartenders and a couple other patrons for a while as we were all waiting for Bam.  Then, around 11 o’clock, or so, he arrived.  My wife and I went up to the VIP area and saw the manager who we had opened the door up for earlier that night, as he was on his way out to go pick Bam up from the airport.  He let us go in for a few minutes to hang with him.  I was pretty excited but I didn’t get crazy “uber” fan like.  Actually, I was pretty shy, dangit.  I was just waiting my turn to meet him and take a picture with him, that’s what I thought I was supposed to do, but these other girls kept cutting in, so I didn’t get much time.  I had wanted to make an impression, but I guess when you’re surrounded by a bunch of young blonde girls wearing next to nothing, hanging all over you, it’s hard to pay attention to the average butch chick.  I shook his hand and gave him a hug, got my picture taken with him, and then my wife pointed out my tattoo on my arm to him.  He looked and then had his manager look, and then all of a sudden there was a camera right there and this guy was taking a picture of my tattoo…well, that was cool.  I don’t know what will come of that.  I thanked him for the picture and then words came out of my mouth that I instantly regretted, especially since I was just talking about it earlier that night.

I told him the tattoo was my “Ode To Solitude In Chains.”  And then I told him “I know where you are, man…been there…well, sorta.”  Ugh…did I really just say that?  I was talking with the bartenders earlier that night about how hard it must be for him to be back here in Scottsdale considering this is where he was when he found out that his best friend, Ryan Dunn, died.  I was also talking about how much I hate it when people say “I know how you feel,” because nobody can ever know how someone truly feels…although they might have an idea, but it’s an insult to say, even still. 

I don’t know Bam other than what I know from T.V. and internet, he doesn’t know me.  He wouldn’t know that two years ago, I lost my only and best friend of thirteen years.  He wouldn’t know that my girlfriend and I were in our hallway doing CPR on my only friend, my best friend, as our 14 year old daughter watched, because he was trying to sober up from alcohol and he died while sitting on the toilet…we had to pull him out of our tiny bathroom and halfway out into the hallway just to start CPR.  He wouldn’t know that we had brought him back only for the paramedics to have to start CPR again.  He wouldn’t know that my best friend, a man that I had done everything with, was everything with, partially defined by, never made it out of my house alive, and he only had come over because he wanted to start sobering up, but wouldn’t go to the hospital.  I was his friend, I wouldn’t turn him away.  Bam wouldn’t know that I really do know where he’s at…sorta.

The “sorta” comes in where the public vs private part comes into play.  Bam had to deal with everything in the public eye and deal with defending Dunn and what happened to him that night.  He had to mourn and grieve while millions of people were watching, and still has to, and that sucks for him.  I had to mourn and grieve with people blaming me for my best friends death, and only a handful to help me through it.

It’s the “through it” part that matters though, and it’s the hardest part to see.  I didn’t think there would ever be a “through it,” in fact, I didn’t even want there to be for a long time.  Somehow, I wish I could help him, Bam, I mean.  Or just even be there, be around, just be me…maybe being me could be helpful. 

But, alas, this week, “me” is struggling.  It’s like my head just can’t get in check or something and I’m not exactly sure why.  Hopefully it’ll work itself out.  I’ve been trying the “standing still” method of trying to do something about this problem and so far, well, I don’t know if it’s been helping, we’ll see.  This is what’s in the works…

My mother-in-law was able to get her apartment and will be moving in on her own sometime in the beginning of September.  It’s a good thing and a blessing, considering that when she was coming out here, she wasn’t even sure if she was going to stay.  She was going to stay here with her nephew and his wife for a while to see what she wanted to do, then maybe go back to the southeast coast to stay with some of her other family, whom she felt needed her.  She hadn’t even given Arizona a try yet when she was talking about these plans.  Within two weeks of being here, she found an apartment complex that she really likes and decided to apply there, we all prayed on it, thanked God for it in advance, and found out yesterday that she was approved for the apartment.

Also, yesterday, our daughter decided to join a gay/straight alliance club at school.  We thought it was a pretty cool thing to do, but then as I thought about it a little further, I thought that maybe I could join it as well.  Yep…I could join a high school club!  Well, at least maybe I could facilitate it.  She said she wouldn’t mind, and since I’m so used to being around teenagers already and seem to be able to interact with them so well, I might be a valuable resource to the club and to the kids.  So on Monday I’m going to head up to the school and check into that…it may just be one of the “things” I’m looking for that I’m supposed to be doing…who knows!

 If you ever have to move and you can U-Haul it, I highly recommend it, be in charge of your own stuff, it’ll cost just about the same, maybe a bit more, but it’s worth the peace of mind of knowing that your stuff is with you the whole time and when you get to your destination.  Furthermore, if you need help loading and unloading, Two Men & A Truck offers a service to help you just load and/or unload a truck of your own if that is what’s keeping you from doing it yourself.  Afraid of towing a vehicle?  Perhaps you could find a friend who is more comfortable with towing whom you could find cheap one way air fare for to get him/her back home.  Moving companies suck…it’s a scary position to be in until you get your stuff.  Please hold for further comments regarding our stuff…but please keep us and our stuff in your prayers until we know that it is all accounted for and safe.

But for now, I’ll give my mind a rest…meditate…try to open up my mind so that whatever it is that I need, my mind needs…I may hear…God may hear…and He may answer.

I just got back from church and the Senior pastor is back from his vacation.  He is the one that first inspired the blog, the one that “took my faith away,” but, gratefully, helped to open me up to find it again.

This morning, before church, I was in tears.  Frustrated in how lost I felt and out of control my head I felt, yet, didn’t know why.  I really still don’t know why, other than why I may have explained before.  Today’s message…It’s Your Race Now!

Psalms 145:4 – One generation will commend your works to another and they will tell of your mighty acts.

So basically, here I am, I’ve arrived at the venue to race and I’m waiting for my event start, although, my problem is, I don’t know which event it is that I’m supposed to be taking part in…but I’m here for it.  I got on the bus, and I’m ready!  I’m waiting, I’m watching, I’m listening, I’ve got my energy on reserve so when I’m called to the line, I’m ready to kick and run with all that I have, for my life, for my faith, for God.

  Hebrews 12: 1 -4 –  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance, the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning it’s shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

I’m back at the church where I truly believe I am called to be, although I know, not yet, the reason I am called to be there.  I’m in a town, so very far away from my home, that I feel I am called to be in, although I know not yet why I am called to be in.  But here I am, and I so badly want to be of service to someone, anyone, everyone.  I can feel it in my heart.  I even felt called to Bam Margera, for crying out loud, to try to help him through his pain, just because I’ve been there before.  I’ve never felt like I can do anything before, but I feel like I can do anything now…and I want to, I want to do everything for everyone.

The pastor said, today, that you can’t tell the story of God without telling the story of you.  I’ve told snippets of the story of me over the last month and a half, and a deep portion of the story of me in this specific blog right now.  I’ll tell my story to anyone who will listen if it will help them.  Often times, telling your own story helps you in your own times of struggle as well.  But more importantly, as our pastor said, our stories are all so unique, because from the jump, God created a path for us, and a reason for that path.  It’s our path to race, our story to tell, if we choose to run it, even it’s uphill the whole way.  There may not be as many heroes like in the days of bible, but if you keep your eyes peeled and your ears open, you’ll be open to just as many blessings and favors as they did.  God is alive and well and still willing to give all that He can to those who give all that they can in faith.

So what’s the story behind the song I chose?  Ha, well, first of all, I chose it for Bam.  It was the theme song for his show Viva La Bam.  Can it be a song of faith?  Sure it can!  God can give you what you need!  He can even “make your ears bleed” with goodness and glory of His word that you can pass along, or even pick apart and study, or like me, find in random everyday songs and find His message.  Through Him you can find joy and happiness in the most astonishing ways that you would have never thought of, an amazing show, just for you…because God knows that’s how he needs to get through to you.  You…me…we are His source for His works on this earth.  So, because of how He made us, and the path that He created for us, we make it work…we may be considered a bit rebellious compared to some of our other  Christian brothers and sisters, but that does not diminish our faith, or make it less than anyone else, it just means that we express it differently, and it may be that style that gets across to someone exactly how they need to receive it.  God is King of everything and therefore knows best, and if rock ‘n’ roll is the way that he chose for me to receive Him best, then rock on! 

Lord, I thank you for brightening and blessing my day, for allowing me to hear your message and receive it with an open heart and with such deep attachment to it.  Thank you for each and every blessing you give us, Lord.  Please wrap your loving arms around us and keep us safe by your heart, be with those who need you, even if they are not aware, or do not accept that they need you, or even know you, Lord.  With all my faith and love, and in your most holy and precious name, I pray.  Amen!

Here I Am…Change is Comin’

It’s been a full week here in our new home, our new city.  So far, the only real complaint is that the maintenance people still haven’t shown up to fix the faucet in our shower, which is currently not allowing us to change the temperature from the present hot to even just warm or cooler. 

Our moving truck still hasn’t shown up yet, nor have we gotten an update to whether it’s left the warehouse or not, but somehow, we’ve gotten used to it and it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem…to me anyway.  I don’t mind living simple, although I would like to get our daughter’s bed, and just the thought of all of our things being somewhere other than in our possession kind of sucks.  Otherwise, living simple is kind of peaceful to me.  The only stressful thing about it is having to deal with the agent trying to get information and handle mistakes we keep finding, and not getting calls back, and furthermore, having to be in this constant waiting game just in case the movers call and say they are a couple hours away…or here (and we’re not), or waiting for the maintenance people.

Otherwise, it has been a pretty great week.  God has been good and ever present.  Our daughter started out school on a good note and has already made a few friends to help make her school day go by better and have friends to invite over so she can have something of a social life as well.  She’s been able to make a few friends both at school and from around the complex, despite the fact that we’ve found the population around the complex to be a majority of college aged people.  And while we still have to worry about her finding her way around the right ways and the wrong ways to become accepted into groups of friends, we are thankful that she is already finding people to start interacting with.

There were quite a few errands that we needed to get done this week, as new residents of Arizona.  My wife needed to get some things done for her medical issues, so she got that done earlier this week, and also met a new friend whilst doing so.  We spent some time with my wife’s mom, helping her get acquainted in town and with her new doctor here, which was followed by an amazing breakfast at this little cafe nearby.  Mmmm…biscuits and gravy with a side of corned beef hash and eggs over-easy.  Yes, I splurged on my gut but it was worth it.  It tasted amazing.  Cindy’s Cafe in Mesa…if you’re in town, try it!  And since we’re still trying to put a few things together here, while waiting for the rest of our things to show up, we stopped at a Goodwill store to buy a few items that we could use as fill-in’s.  So far, the help we’ve gotten with all the little fill-in’s we’ve needed has come at just the right time and with much blessing.

Now, admittedly, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I’m not sure why.  And I’m not sure if it has anything to do with why I woke up in so much pain on Wednesday or not, but, I woke up unable to turn my head much at all and a pain in my shoulder like a poker had just been stuck right through and left there for decoration.  This made the day kind of difficult to deal with, physically, yet thankfully, I didn’t have anything physical to do.  I still had to wait around for the maintenance people and that wasn’t going to be very hard to do, so I just decided to take it easy and get some stuff done online that I needed to get done as well.  The pain persisted and I just carried on, although later on, my physical day got worse.  I hadn’t eaten much that day and I started getting symptomatic as my blood sugar started getting lower, felt like I was going underwater, and had to get some food/sugar fix.  All that got fixed with the help of my wife and daughter, then soon after I started feeling an amazingly intense pain in my lower abdomen.  Yes, this was my PMS week and I could immediately attribute this to early cramping, but this was intense…and scary.  I had starting praying because I didn’t know why the pain was so bad, and with everything going on lately with my health…all the weight loss, etc, I just really didn’t know what to think.  But thankfully, the pain has subsided, and the fear…for God is with me, and He won’t let me be afraid of silly thoughts that are impossible.  (Like, really, I couldn’t have possibly been having a miscarriage when it would have been impossible for me to get pregnant…and no, I really don’t think it’s possible that my uterus can just fall out…I don’t know)

Shoulder still out of whack, still have things to do, and no…we can’t sit and wait for the maintenance guys forever.  We needed to go get our licenses so we could continue pursuing the other things we needed to do as new AZ residents.  We walked in and saw way too many people for my liking and were told that the wait time was about an hour and a half…not like that was any surprise to me.  Had I been back in Michigan, that would be average or less time. 

Friday night, date night.  My wife and I decided to meet up with a group that she had joined on Facebook, some social group in the area that coordinates all these meet-ups at different locations every week at different venues that have, most times, a free finger food buffet, very cheep date if you ask me, plus we got to meet new people…so that was fun.  Although, I wasn’t feeling well so we kind of had to call it an early night, but we still were blessed to have met another friend who had similar interests.

Saturday came and went with not much to talk about.  The maintenance guys never showed up, which they had said they would, and our plans to head downtown to walk around never got off the ground because our energy, by then, had failed us.  We rented movies instead and took full advantage of a completely lazy day while our daughter found, yet another, new friend to enjoy the day with.  In fact, as I sit here writing, she just brought another friend over that she met a few days ago from the complex.  Seems all is going well.

Oh wait, I wouldn’t want you to think that all is puppy dogs and candy canes here just because we took a leap of faith, embraced God to the fullest, moved away from a land of negativity and into a land of hope and peace.  There are still struggles.  This week we had to struggle with inner demons that cause us to make bad decisions for really silly reasons.  Some of us had to learn that stealing and lying is a betrayal that is inexcusable to the heart of those who love you most, and that it’s not so much what the object is, it’s the fact that you sin against them that hurts the most.  And while it can be forgiven, it’s something that needs to be overcome to become the kind of person that people, including the people who love you most, want to be around, to be able to trust you and to be able to trust in who you are.

In that lesson as well, another lesson was taught.  If you handle things differently, you just may get different results.  In the past, I’ve handled my disappointment and anger with even more anger and disappointment.  I’ve come back to the situation with punishment and ready for war, armed with hurt and disrespect.  However, in this particular situation, having taken some time away from the problem at hand, speaking rationally with my wife about it, praying about it, taking into consideration that I drove over 2,000 miles just to seek out whatever it was that God was calling me to, some of which was change, peace, and positivity, I decided to return to the situation with my weapons holstered and teach, for the moment, that I did not want to associate with a person who does such things.

That evening, I attended, with my wife, a Course In Miracles, a course through the Unity Church, which she found that morning while online.  The message given, summarily, was “what are we teaching?” 

Well, that was it.  What was I going to teach my daughter if all I was going to continue to do was get angry with her, punish her, take privileges away, ignore her, and consciously be “just cordial” just because.  Nothing.  I needed to teach her that what she did was wrong and why.  And the next day, when I was feeling better, when we could come together and talk, we did, and we are better now…and she has been better.  Step one…completed.

On to step two…it’s Sunday.  We’ve attended our second church service since being here in Arizona, and while I’m still in a state of peace and commitment of faith, I’m left feeling stagnant and hungry for a message and service that really hits me.  Last week, I thought maybe it was just because I missed my old church, my old choir, the delivery of everything…but now, I’m not sure what it is.  I’m missing something and I don’t know where to find it.  However, Reverend Julianne did say something today that did hit me.  Each one of us is a minister in our own way, that we each need to find what it is that is that we are being called to do, then take it, and embrace it.  For a moment today, in her church, a small Unity church, recently formed, I thought maybe I was being called to minister somewhere…but I’m a babe in the woods.  I still know practically nothing of The Bible.  All I have is my faith and the sense that I’m supposed to tell someone about it.  So where does that lead me?  What am I supposed to do with that?  I’ve already started with this blog…but now what?

The only thing I can think of now is…

“Here I am, Lord.  Is it I, Lord?  I have heard you calling in the night.  I will go, Lord.  I will go, Lord.  If you lead me.  I will hold your people in my heart.”

We Made It

So it took four days to roll into Tempe, but we’re here.  Not too many snarls along the way, a few, but not major ones, thank you, God.  The trip was a beautiful one and I will try to upload a video of pics next week after our daughter and I try to put one together.  We are at a Dunkin’ Donuts right now using the wi-fi to check all of our internet everything because we don’t have internet at our apartment yet and they don’t come until the 8th to hook it up.

Our moving truck won’t be coming until…well…yeah, we’ll see.  It’s out of our hands and in there’s, we’ve just asked for God to watch over our stuff and our drivers because we’ve been a bit bamboozled and treated unfairly.

I have to apologize for the short blog this week, but my time is limited, along with my resources, but I’ll make it up to you as soon as I can.  Just know that God has gotten us here safely, along with prayers and patience, and the AAA trip-tik.

We stayed one night with some relatives and the next day unloaded the stuff we had in our trucks into our apartment.  However, when we got to the leasing office to sign our paperwork, the song that started playing as we walked in was “Home” by Daughtry.  It made my wife and I smile and laugh, thinking, “how appropriate,” considering it’s one of our songs that we’ve had for a long time.  “Be careful what you wish for, cuz you just might get it…and then some you don’t want.”  It couldn’t be more true, however, so far, it’s alright, except for the fact that we are broke with the rest of the month to go until we get paid and still have to shop for meat.  We shopped ahead for pantry items, but we were going to get meat when we got here, but the trip cost more with gas expenses than we thought and we spent more than we intended.  We’ve prayed on it. 

We don’t have much of anything right now except each other, our animals, some of our belongings, a week’s worth of clothes, a couple bins to flip over and use as tables to eat off as we sit on the floor, some blankets and pillows to put on some little mattresses some family is lending us, a home, and the Lord as our shepherd…and that’s good enough for us!

This morning we went to our first, well, technically our second service, at our new church here in Arizona.  It was a nice service, although bittersweet.  We missed Reverend Jim, the way gives his message…the way the Gospel Truth sings…::sigh:: it’s something to get used to.  But I do love the rock sound of the band here at Central Christian.  And the message is delivered in a new unique way that allows me to not only hear a message but understand the bible a bit more I think.  I don’t know.  There are certain trade offs.  The one cool thing is that, because of the time difference, I can still see both services!

This morning’s service told of the belief in the god of Bael versus the belief in God and how Elijah fought to make everyone believe that he was right and everyone else was wrong, basically.  Yet, when he proved that Bael couldn’t deliver, Jezebel sent for his head and he got scared and ran.  His faith was shaken that God couldn’t protect him.  What?  God had done all these things for him, yet, when circumstances changed and things got really scary, he forgot that, as faithful as he was to God, God was just as faithful to him.

We all need to remember that no matter what, no matter when, God is working for us, when the going gets tough, when the water looks the deepest, when the skies look the darkest, when circumstances start looking grim and we’re facing challenges that look daunting, God is bigger than all of them, and He is there for us and He can handle it.  When we pray, He hears us, and He will provide in ways that we least expect it.

Last monday afternoon, late afternoon, about an hour late, our movers showed up to pack up our belongings onto their truck.  Once that was done, everything of ours was out of our hands and into theirs.  We took a four day journey to Arizona, that took every dime we had, along with the help of others.  Why would we spend all that money if we didn’t have any extra?  Because we feel that we should be here because we have a divine appointment to be here…although we are not yet sure for what.  We will find out. 

But so far, we have had to hit a food pantry, ask for help for more money, watch how much we’re driving because of gas, and pray as often as possible.  Are we stressed?  I don’t really think so.  A couple of nights ago, a couple family members gave us some little mattresses to sleep on, although the ones we were sleeping on were very uncomfortable for my wife and making her condition even worse.  We were praying for some kind of relief, and next thing we know, there were some men about to toss out a really nice mattress and box spring.  They helped carry it to our apartment.  It’s better than the one we have that’s still in a warehouse in Chicago.  Thank you, God.

Prayers and Patience.  Family and Friends.  Thank you, God for these things in our life, as these are the things that we need to live.  Everything else will come around in due time, and then, we will be able to do what it is that we have been put here to do.

~Lord, please put your arms around this entire family, bless us all, keep us safe from harm and health concerns.  Guide us in your path and keep us strong to continue to do all that is right in your service, Lord.  Please bless our daughter and keep her strong and confident on her first day at a new school, please help my wife recover from her pain, as this trip has been a bit much for her, please bless our family who has been much help to us through this journey and as we’ve arrived to help us settle in.  In your most holy and precious name, I pray.  Amen~

And We’re Rollin!!! The Soundtrack

We’re heading out on Monday, August 1st, 2011.  Me, my wife, our daughter, and my mother-in-law.  Everything’s all packed up, and we’re on our way to a new life in Arizona.  I burned a cd of songs that I selected for specific reasons that apply to this journey and our lives.  Once we get on our way, each car will have a cd of the following songs ready to be played.

Carrie Underwood – Jesus Take The Wheel

John Parr – Man In Motion

Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

HIM – And Love Said No

Gloria Estefan – Coming Out Of The Dark

Kris Allen – Live Like We’re Dyin’

Splendr – God Can Explain

Michael Jackson – Man In The Mirror

Kenny Rogers – Love Will Turn You Around

Chumbawumba – Tubthumping

Michael W. Smith – Place In This World

Prince and The Revolution – Let’s Go Crazy

Van Halen – Right Now

Thank You – Alanis Morissette

Dear Lord, please wrap your arms of love, guidance, and safety around us during our travels.  Keep us healthy, alert, and of good spirits.  Please watch over those we are leaving behind, continue to guide them in their journey with you and in their lives, wherever they allow it to take them.  Please deliver us safely to our destination, Lord, so that we may begin our life in a place we feel you have chosen for us to be to better serve you and serve our family.  In your most precious name, I pray.  Amen.