Truckin’

I started writing this Friday night, and actually had about two paragraphs written already. Alas my train of thought kept getting knocked off track and, since I couldn’t get that train rollin’ back around to pick it up again, I figured it just wasn’t the one I was really supposed to hop.  Instead, I just let my daughter talk my ear off about nothing that mattered to me, other than the fact that sometimes our kids, even our teens, just want to know that we’ll take a moment to listen…about the dumbest things.

I’d catch another train eventually…no use in sweating it.  Especially when the entire week had gone off without too many hitches.  I’ve been trying to unhitch myself from a lot of the things going on in my life, surrendering it to God, and just letting him show me the way, give me my day, and go where I can with it.

There’s stumbling blocks, obstacles, detours, pitfalls, torn maps, and enemies all through life, and those of us who try our hardest to follow a life of Christ, a life of value and morals, seem to get hit with a lot of the above backfires.  Tests and trials, “that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” same old stuff that we get tired of dealing with…but it makes us who we are.  It’s all in how we deal with each situation before us!  We can either jump off the train of life/spiritual progression and let the situation claim what we and our lives are going to be, or we can keep riding and see where it takes us, each day something new and capable of taking us new places.  Yeah, it gets demanding, worrisome at times…if you falter on your faith in that Great Conductor, but He’s the one that laid the tracks for you in the first place.  Who better to know where you should be?  And most importantly, where you should be going?  We just can’t worry so much about how long it takes to get there, or the route it takes, or how many stops and changes we have to make. The journey, and all that comes with it, is there for us to improve ourselves before we get to our stop, be it the need to re-evaluate ourselves, our lives, our jobs, our homes, our friends, our values and morals, our finances, our habits, etc.  It’s not necessarily a fun journey, but depending on where you decide to get off, it could be totally worth it.  And don’t forget to enjoy the view!

A few days back, the song “Truckin'” by Grateful Dead came on my HimP3 player.  I know it mentions a few things that don’t seem too Christ-like, but if you lived in my brain, you’d know how easy it is to think of God as cocaine!  Besides…it’s all about the message!  There’s always tomorrow, don’t forget to look around, and just keep truckin’ on!

My week started off not so great, stress from our daughter came like a punch to the gut first thing.  We handled it, handed out punishment, and surrendered the rest for her to be accountable for.  And then…we kept truckin’!  Everywhere we seemed to look, except in our bank accounts, it was a beautiful day.  We spent a good amount of time with my mama-in-law this week, I won fourteen dollars at Bingo at the senior community, I was able to get my meds again, we spent time at a social event/dance at the senior community, we helped out a couple people at the same place, we’ve enjoyed all of our time together, and despite our daughter’s punishment, she hasn’t been giving us too many problems.  Of course, there is a lot more to tell…many blessings, many good and just fun or nice things we were part of, but to sum up a week of goodness is hard to do right now, as I’m a little wiped out from an early asthma attack.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter what blessings and what good/nice things we did, it matters that there were plenty of them, and made for many beautiful days.  The best part of it, was that each day, as I woke, I prayed for it to be such just by my mere surrender to what was going to come of it.  Yes, I stumbled a few times in emotion and stress, but I’m human, imperfect, me…and God loves me, and I love Him. 

Thank you, Lord, for our beautiful days…even when we don’t see them as being possible!

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The Mountain and The Word

So how is everyone else’s 2012 going so far?

Mine has been blessed, perhaps a few aggravations here and there, a couple set backs, but nothing to dive into the darkness and dwell about.  Just have to find alternate ways of getting a few things done ’round here, is all. 

But that’s life!  Full of obstacles and challenges, unexpected pitfalls and blessings.  Gotta love it!  Or at least try your best to keep loving it and having Faith throughout it.

My wife has been out of town since Thursday, off to celebrate her son’s graduation from Navy boot camp.  Words lack the actually expression of pride from his accomplishments as a young man of God.

I wanted to go but finances and household management wouldn’t allow for me to join.  Instead, I stayed home with our daughter so she wouldn’t miss any school.  I wasn’t really looking forward to this time spent without Babe, we miss each other terribly when we’re apart from one another, but I had to suck it up anyway.  To tell you the truth, I was more worried about having to spend five days alone with our daughter than anything.  As I’ve said in the past, she can be the cause of some grief around here, between her mother and I, and just with me.  It’s not that we don’t get along because we do.  When she is alone with either her mother or I, she doesn’t give much grief at all and makes the time seem well spent, most of the time.  The problem is, she needs to find a way to be able to handle herself in the same manner when it’s all three of us, instead of pitting her mother and I against each other, and furthermore, show the same respect for us both while we’re together that she does when we’re apart.  Conversely, we need to be able to open up to spending more time with her individually when we’re all together, perhaps “date days,” so that maybe she doesn’t feel left out.  Maybe, and I’m praying for this, that between both theories, we can all live together in a more peaceful, less tense, less aggravated, and less saddened environment.

Knowing our daughter the way I do, I would say that the task would be like trying to move a mountain.  Well, we can’t do that, we just don’t have the strength, even all three of us combined.  However, it’s not so much about moving the obstacles and challenges out of our path, as it is trekking through them, actually making that climb instead of just moving the mountain.

So that’s what we did!  In addition to a couple other fun things my daughter and I did in her mom’s absence, we climbed a mountain.  No, it wasn’t a big mountain, and it wasn’t a scary terrain, but it was the biggest and steepest rocky hill I’ve ever attempted to climb, not to mention the fact that I wasn’t even going to do it in the first place.  But our plans for Saturday derailed because of a big event going on in the city, so instead of heading back home to do hours worth of nothing, she talked me into climbing “A” Mountain.  I was worried about doing it because I’ve been battling a cold with a nasty cough for a couple weeks, I didn’t have my inhaler, I was wearing my black converse, which are not good for hiking, and my attitude toward the climb, and how much effort it was going to be, was shying me away. 

Faith!  Just climb the mountain and don’t worry about what “might” happen.  Like my mother-in-law said the other day, “if” is a big burden for a little word, and that would have been a lot of extra weight for me to carry up those trails if I hadn’t just left “if” at the bottom of the hill and just started walking. 

It was steep, I was out of breath, my legs were burning, my shoulder was hurting (chronic situation but gets worse with more movement), but it didn’t take long before I looked back and we were halfway up.  Yes, I would have liked to have my inhaler, but I decided that I would make it without it, because this was a challenge, it was fun, and it was going to be worth it…that’s what my daughter said whilst walking, anyway.

We made it to the top and it was beautiful.  We rested on some rocks for a while, talked to a couple people, took some pictures, and just hung out.  “I feel closer to God up here,” she said.  Whether she said that to please me because she knows the pride I carry in being a follower of Christ, or if she said it because that’s how she truly felt, then she was right in what she said at the bottom of the hill.  It was totally worth it.

This morning in church, we continued our study on The Book of John and the prayer that Jesus prayed in front of those chosen eleven, from whom the gospel has spread generations later to you and me.  I took notes like I usually do but, honestly, I don’t really have much to say about the sermon, although it was great.  The best part of service was, at the very end, watching my daughter, on her own accord, go up to the front to pray with someone.  I’m not sure what it was about…I didn’t go with her.  I thought that if this was her making another step toward a relationship with Jesus, then there was no room for me to be there in that moment with her.  If she wants to share, she will.  And furthermore, her mother and I are always here to help with her conflicts in faith, or at least try.  But we are only capable of so much.  Her relationship is hers and Gods, and there is nothing anyone can do to lean it one way or the other, regardless of our hopes. 

The only thing we can do is do our best to live in The Word, as it has all been put in writing for us what it is that Jesus, His Love, and His covenant is.  It’s a simple, yet, tough guide to follow and be diligent with.  However, our Love for Jesus should be the easiest way to guide us through life, as it is simply to Love. 

I know, there are many other “rules” in The Bible, and trust me, I have a hard time grasping some of them too.  In 2012 it’s just kind of hard to wrap your mind around some of the teachings, but I’m doing my best and I pray to help me not fail…or at least fail too badly.  And when I start to stumble, as we all do, we just need to remember that The Word is there to help us, encourage us, guide us, and teach us.  It will never change, it will never waiver, it will never lessen.  Our job is to live within The Word while living in this world, whilst not being part of it…with Jesus, we are so much more than what this world is and what it has to offer. 

Know it, live it, love it, Love Him and Love it forward…and we’ll all get where we want to go.

~Dear Lord, thank you for your many blessings this week, especially for the safe travels of our loved ones and for the time well spent with our loved ones.  Please help us to continue to shine in the light of your Love so that we may count ourselves among the multitude of those that may enter your Holy Kingdom.  Please forgive me my sins, and help me work on correcting them, especially my dirty mouth, so that nobody may ever condemn me in my speech.  Lord, I pray that my Love shines as bright as yours.  In your Holy and Precious name, I pray.  Amen~

Drive

It’s been a week since my declaration to better my lifestyle in attempt to live a healthier physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle.

We actually did work out…and on New Year’s Day!  And we’ve worked out three days since, as planned, despite my ongoing cold.  I can’t say that I’ve done that great of a job at eating any healthier, but in a few days when we go shopping, our choices will get better.  I’ve limited myself to eight to ten cigarettes per day this last week as well.  I normally smoked nearly a pack a day, having usually about three, definitely one, left at the end of each night.  So far, I’ve done amazing with that commitment.

Yes, I used a post it note for that, but I also broke out my Scarface cigarette case and prepacked it each morning with eight cigarettes, taking the ninth out with me for the first one of the day.  I kept the rest of the pack in my dresser drawer, out of sight, out of mind.  The only thing I could see was that I had those amount of cigarettes in that case for the entire day, so I had to ration myself and make use of the “halfie” system.  And no, just because you’re up past midnight does not mean you get to start over.  As my wife put it, you don’t take from tomorrow to pay for today…or something like that!

I’ve read once through Corinthians and intend on reading through again, this time reading the study notes.  Wow…what a strict book!  I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  It’s something I’ll have to ponder on, I guess.

We finally got our back patio back this week.  It was held hostage by a love seat that has been waiting patiently to get over to it’s new house at my mama-in-law’s.  It finally got there and we’ve finally, since we moved in, have had the time to fix it up to make it more inviting for us to spend time out there, especially considering all of our different personalities.

Other than Thanking God most every morning and maintaining my eight to ten smokes a day plan, and of course my blog time, every other plan I had failed to take a good root this week.  I guess that’s what happens when we make plans…God laughs and says, “that’s not my plan for you…yet.”  I guess I still need to work on surrendering what I want and accept what just comes.

Which brings me to this song that has been haunting me, so I thought, for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding it;  I actually like the song.  But I think yesterday when I surrendered my ears to the song the message finally came to me.

First of all, one of my most favorite things I’ve always loved to do was get in the car and drive, turn my music up, and just…drive.  Whatever was going on at the moment would somehow be handled within me after spending time in the car.  I would just get in and take off, giving little thought to direction, although I would maintain a certain perimeter around my home.  I didn’t see any reason for worrying anyone, so most of the time people would have an idea of where I went if I was going somewhere or around what area I would be in if I was just driving around.

Now, ironically, I no longer have a vehicle of my own.  I sold it about a month and a half ago because it was starting to require some repair that I wouldn’t be able to afford and I had to take the loss.  Yes, I was bitter.  But, the truck served it’s purpose!  It brought my family out to Arizona, to a city where I really don’t need a vehicle because if I don’t have access to our other one, there is a huge mass transit system.  Plus, I don’t have many places to go!  But that’s not the point.  The point, actually, has nothing to do with driving a vehicle at all!

Similar, perhaps…

When you get behind the wheel of a car and get out on the street, you only have control over very few things.  Your own personal environment is one of them, the turns you make are one of them, but the road you are traveling on and the drivers traveling around you are completely out of your control.  So while you’re in the car, you do your best to pay attention to everything, use your skill and knowledge to keep you safe, but in reality, there is nothing you can do about what is coming at you out of nowhere.  The best you can do is to listen to your music and stay alert and just drive without being hyper-conscious of everything.  That only takes more of your attention away from what’s happening around you and within you.  And you can’t plan for anything anyway…so just drive…you’ll get where you’re going.

The same is true with our days.  If we wake up with a plan of what we’re going to do, if it is anything outside of a routine, then we’re doing less than listening to what God has in store for us that day.  Hop in the car, rev the engine, turn your music on, and just listen.  Let God point you in the direction you’re supposed to be heading that day, after you’ve said your prayers, of which He already knows what you desire, and know that you both have a destination in mind.  Every day is a continuation of a lifetime road tip, on your way to Heaven, and every day may be a change of scenery or a detour because that’s what God has in store for us that day.  Just take the wheel and drive!

~Dear Lord Jesus…Please forgive me my indiscretions this week as I tried to my myself proud in an aim to start living my life with better choices and with better discipline.  Thank you for being a merciful God, that I may screw up and keep trying and know that my faith in you has a direct impact on your faith in me, and you, Lord, are the most faithful of all.  Thank you for all the blessings you shared with our family this week, Lord, we certainly felt comforted in your good graces and look forward to next week with more opportunities to better ourselves that we may better our service for you.  Please watch over my family’s travel this week, keep them all safe and at peace while on their journey to share in crossing the threshold of my wife’s son’s military life.  Lord I ask that you keep him and bless him throughout his service to this country and his service to you, Lord, and that you bring my family safely home to me.  Also, if it’s not too much to ask, if you could help my daughter and I have a good week and help us both work on what we need to work.  In your precious and holy name, I pray….Amen~

The Art of Finding Pride Through 2012

I had almost an entire post ready to go, and halfway through the day, I decided to scrap it and start over.  Why?  I wasn’t really feeling it.  I honestly hadn’t felt anything move me yet, and therefore, I was just babbling.  It was a summation of last year up to the moment when I started this blog, only because the story of the rest of the year after I started this blog is already fairly well told.

And besides…that’s so last year.

This is the time of year when everyone does their best to start anew, make a fresh start, come up with resolutions to become a better person in their eyes, and in order to do all of that, we have to let go of last year and embrace the next.

New years resolutions are pretty hard to keep, and a lot of them, for a lot of people, are the same.  Quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, save more money, insert most common resolution here.  Of course, I share those resolutions, but it’s not easy to just wake up on January 1st and not have a cigarette, make organic scrambled eggs with the whites only with a glass a fresh squeezed orange juice and a piece of dry organic toast before proceeding to the gym to step on the eliptical to climb to your out of shape doom.

Sometimes, starting anew takes practice and discipline.  Sometimes we even have to take it back to basics.  I remembered a time when I was working for a call center that required me to take a survey at the end of each customer service call, of which we had a minimum amount of surveys that we had to accumulate throughout the month.  I had quite a bit of trouble wracking up the amount of surveys I needed, in fact, I even got a write-up for it, so I came up with an idea to help me.  I took some post it notes and cut up the amount that I needed to clear, plus a few extra, and posted them to the side of my computer monitor just as a reminder to ask for the survey, as I would surely be looking at the monitor throughout the phone call.  It worked!  Within the first two weeks, all the post-its were off my monitor and I had all the surveys I needed.  Unfortunately, I lacked the discipline to keep asking once I no longer saw the post-it tabs.  So when the stats came out that month, and my memory had failed to remind me, as well, that the amount of surveys needed had been raised by ten, I was informed that I was under by six.  Blasted!  I lost my job!

So what am I saying?  I’m saying I’m going to try again with the post-it notes.  I can’t make plans for the entire year, but I can make a goal for each day that will help me accomplish my ultimate goal of a healthy, happy, fulfilled lifestyle…spiritually, emotionally, romantically, and physically.

Do I need to put a post-it note up beside my bedside to remind me to thank God first thing when I open my eyes every morning?  Yes, I do.  Sometimes, the thought escapes me until I wake up a little more and have already moved around for a while.  I want that to change.  If it’s a day that I’m supposed to work out, do I need a post-it to remind me to do it?  Yes, to get my mind ready to go, and to start training myself that there are certain days that I’m just going to go do it.  How about a post-it to make a random phone call to someone I haven’t talked to in a while, or write a letter?  Yep.  And I can’t forget a post-it to remind myself that there is time for reading the Bible, and learning that song on the guitar, and “me time” to do whatever I want.  Maybe I can even come up with a post-it note system for snacks!  It’ll work…but, I just don’t have the post-its yet, they are still at the Dollar Tree.

The point is this, the easiest way to learn something, is by taking notes, reading over them, studying them, applying them.  Sometimes just seeing the idea/task there in front of you, over and over again, will help with the discipline.  Sooner or later, you won’t need the notes because you will be living the lifestyle you studied for. 

The important thing is trying to live each day in a way that leaves you feeling proud.  Is it good to feel proud of yourself?  Yes!  Because when you’ve lived a good and righteous day, then our Heavenly Father is proud of you, and that’s an awesome feeling to go to bed with at night.

I can’t believe 2012 is already here.  2011 flew by on us, and it was a crazy trip, full of many moments I can feel proud of, some moments I’m less than proud.  Now I find myself on the first day of a year that people think the world is going to end, and with everything I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be surprised.  And if it’s true, then again, I pray that I find myself amidst the multitude, along with my family, that find themselves walking through the gates of Heaven.  Either way, I want to live 2012 proud.

I have a lot to work on.  There are circumstances within me and surrounding me that I’ll be taking on, praying for, reminding myself everyday to surrender.  Most things I am hopeful for and know I will become a better GodsRockChild for.  Other things are beyond me, of which I can only keep praying for and about, and work through.

But it’s all good.  God’s got this.  God bless you all and Love it forward! 

Happy New year!

~Dear Lord, my undying gratitude goes out for your unending blessings toward our family, for watching over our travels, our health, and even our finances.  Thank you for all the family and friends that you have put in our path, to join in fellowship to glorify you.  Lord, your greatness and mercy is a gift that no man or woman can match, but to be able to praise you each day, Lord, is a blessing in itself.  Please continue to watch over our family and friends, our travels and health, wrapping your Fatherly arms around us, giving us that sense of safety, comfort, stability, knowing that you, Our Lord and Savior, are watching over us and have a place for us, with you, in Heaven.  Please bless our upcoming year, that we may find peace and joy.  In your glorious name, I pray.  Amen~