Love In Limbo

John 20

The Empty Tomb

    1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

   3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

So John was the one that’s being referred to as the one that Jesus loved most in that passage, his bud, his best friend.  He got so worked up over the news that someone may have jacked with his best friend’s grave site, whom he just lost and was freshly mourning over, that he outran the other guy and beat him to the tomb.  However,  he maintained discipline when he got there, to respect Jewish tradition about not entering a place of death or something.  It was only after Peter got there and busted past him to see what the heck was going on with that shroud, that he finally went in to witness the mystery that he knew for a fact that Christ had died, but all of a sudden Christ is not there. 

The Truth, which, considering John and Jesus’ history and friendship together, John finally truly believed at that moment, as he stand there looking at empty cloths, was that Christ had risen.  Now, John was a faithful disciple to Jesus, a true bud, in fact, just before he died, Jesus passed those most important in his Earthly life over to John’s capable heart and and hands, his mother and other disciples…not to mention, every soul in the world, from then until the end of time.

Fast forward through time, a little bit along the way, as the disciples tell and retell stories of Jesus, and other witnesses testify, and there’s major movements, and breakups between what it actually means to believe in Jesus and what Jesus actually wants from us.  The “operator” game continues on and before long there’s even question about Jesus’ existence at all, scandals and deceit hide within holy walls, and the world is no stranger to holy wars…all because they claim to know the truth about whatever their “truth” is, and there is no other way…as I sit here proclaiming Jesus is the way.  But that’s my job, I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ, so to wear my armor means to proclaim my Love for him and announce the Truth that IS Him.

But in the meantime, between the days of John and Peter and me and you, all my brothers and sisters, what I’m saying is that things have gotten slack.  Some of our faiths have become one of convenience and not one we put too much effort into.  We may walk a good life, not be too sinful, but we can’t just walk through life playing it safe and call ourselves a good Christian either.  I mean, what does that do for the person standing next to you who doesn’t know or doesn’t quite believe in Jesus?

Time is short, spread the Word, spread the Love, for we didn’t know love until we were first loved by Jesus.  Jesus loved John, they were best buds…so much so that when Jesus was not in that tomb when they rolled back that rock, he knew the Truth instantly.

The Truth is that Christ will come again.  Don’t you want to know Jesus that well that He knows you, no questions asked?  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that He’d already know exactly how you feel about Him?  What you would do for Him?  How much you Love Him and talk him up to people?  It’d be a relationship you’d regret missing out on…just don’t wait until it’s too late to believe…or tell…

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Dream On…

Top o’ the season to you!

We just got through Thanksgiving and most of the world took off like sprinters at their mark toward Christmas, barely taking time to digest their days, much less their meals.

How was your Thanksgiving?  Ours was very nice.  We were invited by my wife’s cousin’s cousin to share a Thanksgiving feast with their family.  It was the equivalent of walking into a strangers house for a family get-together that we happened to know three other people at.  However, this family is one of the most welcoming families I’ve had the pleasure of knowing.  And it runs in the genes…my first encounter was similar.  I stayed with my wife’s cousin, whom I’ve never met and she hadn’t seen or talked to in half her life, like strangers, and they treated us like we were every day family that needed to crash at their place for a few nights.  And the food was amazing!  So I thank God for putting people into our lives that weave people through our lives in a chance to share, celebrate, and grow, and I thank the cousins for the invites!

The following day, so called “black friday,” our family spared ourselves the chaos and debt of going out to the stores and stayed inside to relax, reserving a few dollars for our traditional “friday night bingo” with mama-T.  We go almost every Friday night with my mother-in-law at the senior community, spend three dollars each, and hope to win a jackpot.  Mostly, it’s just time spent together.  This time, however, we received a special invitation from a neighbor in the community to share a “day-after” Thanksgiving feast with her, which was delicious and generous.  I thank God for putting kindness into this woman’s heart and I thank Miss B for extending her kindness and love to us.

About a week ago, I received a special gift in the mail from my brother and his family.  A special message from God prompted this gift to be extended to us, and therefor, we couldn’t possibly turn it down.  Tonight, we had an opportunity to go enjoy a free event in Tempe, a comedy/drama called “Love Crazy,” a clean, Christian comedy production, which happened to funny as heck.  I scored some free passes earlier this week and couldn’t wait to take my family to the event, and all I had to pay for was food, if we chose to eat there, which we did.  Thankfully, with the gift we had received earlier this week, we were able to do so, comfortably, and it contributed toward a fun-filled, Christian motivated night for my wife, my mother-in-law, our daughter, and I.  Thank you, God, for letting little ears hear messages of love and allowing us the opportunity to enjoy messages of love through laughter.  And thank you, my family, for your love and generosity.

My wife received a phone call from her son today, the phone call she’s been waiting for since he left for boot camp on the fifth of this month.  She got the phone call that he was there and safe, but she’s been waiting for that phone call of just a few minutes, and she finally got it tonight.  She made it through, full of tears and joy.  So thank you, God, for keeping him safe and strong and giving my wife that moment she needed.

Tomorrow is church.  We haven’t gone for some time, as my wife and I have both been feeling quite ill, and with all the traveling we’ve been doing, it’s been hard to get back into some kind of normal life again.  I’m hoping we feel well enough to go.  I can’t even imagine what more of a message and a blessing we could receive than we already have this week.  So what song has been on my mind this week?  Dream On by Aerosmith.  Just sing for today and leave yesterday behind, dream about all that God has in store us if we live by Him, with Faith, Hope, and Love.  No, we don’t want to go to heaven tomorrow, but there’s really no better place to be, so if we dream about it, the more we want it…and the more we want it, the better we live our lives to get it.  So until then, just live, sing, and dream on…

We didn’t make it to church this morning.  We slept in by accident, not that we had an alarm set, but apparently we needed more sleep than we thought, and we enjoyed it…just dreamin’ on until 10:30 this morning.  But I woke up, thanked God for the day, made breakfast for my wife and daughter, and am letting God have my day for me for whatever He sees fit…I’ll just sing along, just for today, in praise.  Sometimes today is all we have, so take it for everything you have.

~Dear Lord, thank you for the blessings you’ve given us this week and we look forward to any blessings you give to us this upcoming week.  Your blessings are are as wonderful as they are unexpected.  Please watch over us in our health and happiness and through all the struggles of the mind and heart we and our friends and family face at this time in our lives, wrap your Fatherly arms around those who need you and comfort them in a way that only you can, Lord.  In your most High and Holy name, I pray.  Amen~

What Have You Done Today To Make You Feel….

What have you done today to make you feel proud?

It’s difficult, in today’s world to find something to be proud of, in ourselves, in our families, in our communities, in our government, in our world.  There are so many things, as each day begins, that make the possibility of achieving pride subject to change.

We may start off our day thinking that everything is going to go just right and at the end of the day we will be filled with pride that we’ve put in our best efforts and have remained successful at whatever our endeavor is.  But things may happen that chip away at that potential for pride…

We let our frustration from the morning, such as traffic or being late, follow us around and show up through our attitude with others.  We take criticism for something that we may be responsible for as a personal attack on our character or judgment rather than an opportunity to grow and learn.  We make snap judgments and knee-jerk reactions that hurt people and, often times these days, get people killed. We lie and steal as if not a single parent has taught us right from wrong then look around and wonder where all these kids parents are.  We watch the news to find that another parent has killed their child, and if they haven’t killed them, the child has disappeared and the parent doesn’t know why because the parent wasn’t there, and if the parent isn’t there, then it’s a famous or well-trusted idol who’s sexually abusing them.  We see the tally of how many lives have been lost in this war oversees, and wonder why a war is still going on, then get even more frustrated at the government who just can’t seem to get their shit together…on anything!  And on top of that…the weather and all the natural disasters lately are very strange and, well, scary.  All these things makes it hard to have just an honest days pride.

But….if you wake up each day and just live your day as the best Christian possible…then you can take pride in that.  If you remember your beatitudes, then you shouldn’t have to worry about your judgments and actions, and you’ll know to be compassionate, sympathetic, and to pray for every thing and one else going on that is evil in the world.  Wake up, take in a big, deep Christian breath, start your day, and be at peace!  It could be a good recipe for life!

**I didn’t make that video, it was a lucky find on YouTube.  Lucky because I agree with almost everything in it, except the idea of the evolution.  My mom said I was a hairy baby but I really struggle to believe that at one time we were apes.  Why?  God said so!**

~Dear Lord, thank you so very much for all of your blessings this week, and for continuing to watch over our health.  Please bless each day ahead with peace and happiness, and with each person who needs your help, Lord, please bless them with the opportunity to be open to hear you, Lord…that they may find their way to your word and the peace that you offer.  Please help us to love more, laugh more, and grow more and we continue on our journey to you and your Heaven, Lord.  For all that you do for me, my family, and for my brothers and sisters, I thank you and praise you.  In your most Holy name I pray.  Amen~

Still….

Shhhhhh….be still…..be quiet….

Sometimes when all the noise in the world penetrates the, already blaring, noise in your head and heart, it’s good to just quiet yourself and stop adding to the noise.  You just might be able to hear something that you’ve been trying to listen for.

I’ve been reading the book of Job.  It’s an amazing book!  I’ve completed it already and have started reading it again.  One would say, that through all Job’s turmoil, that he’s talking too much, complaining too much, preaching too much, perhaps even getting impatient and upset with those that are trying to help him.  It’s understandable, he’s suffering…and doesn’t know why.  As humans, it always feels right to question why things happen…we demand reasons, we demand that the world knows what’s right and wrong, and furthermore, we demand that the world knows when we are right and wrong.  But sometimes…it just doesn’t matter.  Sometimes, it’s just better to let things play out…go through it and grow through it.  Even when we are being hurt in the process.

While going through those struggles and hurt, we can’t deny that we still feel the emotion.  I’m feeling emotion.  I can’t deny that there are circumstances around me that I can’t control and they are bringing about sadness, anger, bitterness, probably a whole host of emotions that I can feel at any given moment.  In fact, I’m feeling one right now that I wish I didn’t, simply because something special is not being acknowledged.  But oh well.  There’s nothing I can do about it.  That’s why I’ve chosen, as of this last week, in the trial I’ve been given, to be still and know that He is God.  It is better for me to say nothing at all than to say anything and risk the backlash.  All will be handled in it’s due time and by someone who is both more powerful than me and more meaningful than me.

I had a dream a couple nights ago where I was running through the rain, along a street I wasn’t quite familiar with, but perhaps somewhat familiar with.  Maybe I was only familiar with it in my dream.  I was able to do things that I couldn’t do in reality…jumping higher than an apple tree, doing flips, running without getting out of breath….in this dream, I was letting out things inside of me that I can’t do in reality.  It felt good in the dream…I wish I could do it in real life.  But when I woke, the first thing I could think of was another one of my favorite HIM songs.

~Lord, please bless this day, the anniversary of my mom’s birth, and please guard her health that she may have another birthday to celebrate.  Thank you for all the blessings you’ve bestowed upon us, even in the form of trials and tribulations, where we’ve grown in spirit and are continuing to grow.  Please watch over our travels and health, and see that we find togetherness in our daily lives.  In your most precious name I pray.  Amen~

The Gospel of Chaos 1:1

One would think that with all this chaos in my mind and heart right now, I would have so much to say, yet, I’ve been staring at this screen for at least half an hour and haven’t been able to think of one thing to say.  I went to church with my mom this morning, took notes, and still can’t figure out what to say. 

Yes, I’m at my mom’s house…in Texas.  My wife and I went shopping last Wednesday afternoon and, after a phone call about some test results, left the store before we had anything in the cart and started packing…leaving about four hours later and driving sixteen hours through the night to get here the very next day.

So now I’m here and there should be so much to say because there is so much going on but, alas, I’m unable to purge anything…my tear ducts even seem to be in a form of drought, despite my desire for them to just bust wide open, hopefully relieving this heaviness on my chest and this tightness in my throat.

Surely there must be a word to define all that I’m feeling…sad, hurt, fear, anxiety, stress, anger, bitterness, defensive, exhausted, yet, at the same time, showing calm, patience, a sense of reason.  My wife is scared because this is not how I should be acting…and I would agree with her, I’m a little scared too, but I’m leaning more on the calm side, finding comfort in my Heavenly Father, that He is guiding me through this darkening part of my journey.

I feel like I’m in one of those boxes they used to have on game shows where blasts of air come in and send money or whatever all around the box as everyone watches, while the contestant has to struggle to catch and hold onto their prize…except in my box, emotions are flying around, and because they are intangible, I can’t grab them and hold onto them long enough to focus on each one.  At the moment they’re just kind of hitting me and bouncing off until they come back later and hit me again…I hope that changes, I’m sure it will later down the road.  But for now, this box is filled with emotions, memories, and unhealed wounds that hit and sting…if only for a moment, then fly off in another direction again.

Life is scary, strange, imperfect, full of struggles and that’s what makes us who we are so that when we get to the next part of the journey, we’re somehow prepared, even if we’re torn down to nothing just to be built up again just so we can learn how not to be so torn down the next time.  The Lord shows us the truth about ourselves through the life that we lead and the choices we make, sets us down on our path at birth and allows us to come to the forks in the road, and with each direction we choose, He shows us our truths, whether we like them or not.  Our desire in life, well, at least my desire, is to please Him, so that I may be counted among those beside Him in the Kingdom of Heaven, having felt His nudges, understood and carried out His word, and faithfully followed Him on my journey toward Heaven.  Sometimes, to get there, we have to go through a great deal of crap, endure emotional turmoil, pain, shame, live with memories and embedded behaviors that have no purpose, other than to remind you that you are stronger than that now…that the power within you is greater than the circumstance around you.  And the more you commit to that desire, the more truth will come out, but the more truth you find out, the more at peace you will become…because God does not want us to hurt more than we have to.

There are many ways to translate the phrase In Venere Veritas, a song title by the band HIM.  The lead singer, of course, is the only one who knows what he meant by it, but, it’s art and therefore open to interpretation.  In…is simply “in”, venere is “Venus” and veritas is “truth.”  In Venus is truth!  Huh?  The truth is on a planet?  No.  Uh oh…the truth is within the goddess Venus?  We’re not supposed to worship any other god…so now what?  How about we look at the symbolism!  First, the symbol of Venus is a cross with a circle on top of it. 

venus_women_symbol_decor-e1388197881290

The cross, representing our spiritual connection to the universe and the circle representing our inclusive connection to the universe.  The attributes of venus are love, allure, desire, beauty, passion, harmony, affection, sexuality, creativity, attraction, inspiration, femininity, aesthetics, imagination, appreciation, relationships, and unification of opposites. All that being said, could it not be said that these attributes are what should be aimed for, careful to not find ourselves with over-abundance, but that it’s quite possible that in the desire to be the kind of person that is those things, the truth about ourselves, and the Truth of the Lord, is going to help lead us there, keep us there, and grant us the keys to the gates of Heaven, where we can leave all the baggage we’ve been carrying along the way behind?  Sounds good to me anyway…at least right now…

~Dear Lord Jesus, you know my needs better than I do, so I ask that you continue to guide me with your love so that I may have the strength, the courage, the wisdom, and the ability to continue this journey and fight the battles ahead of me and not lose sight of hope in the face of the struggles ahead of me.  I ask that you watch over all of us in our travels, and in our daily health so that nothing shall overtake us that doesn’t need to right now, Lord.  Thank you for your many daily blessings and lessons.  In your highest, most holy name, I pray, Lord.  Amen~

Thank God For Sunday

It’s been an absolute hell of a week.  To even try to go into detail about it would be both too difficult and too personal for all people involved.  The devil was surely nipping at our heals this week, nearly blowing out all our lights that shine our way on God’s path.  It’s amazing how one small thing can be interpreted so very differently and, therefore, get crazy out of hand because of it.  Sometimes I believe we, as a society, are losing the art of communication with one another, and the ability to understand each other.  It’s detrimental.

Couples should take classes once a year, health care providers should take classes on how to communicate with patients, people, in general, should take a class on normal expected human behavior, and the world would be just fine.  The amount of disrespect and misunderstanding between people is almost criminal in this world lately.

And it’s so easy to get caught up in it all, to get caught up in the bantering, or acting like you’re better than the person who is supposed to be providing you with a service, and letting your mind get over-run with that conversation in your head where you say everything on your mind but your mouth fails to actually filter it, thus hurting people’s feelings around you and scaring people around you because they have no idea what to expect of someone who just doesn’t harness their behavior at all.  And when people lack the ability to discern what is troublesome and what is not, it can get some people into worse situations, emotionally, mentally, or otherwise.

God gave us a voice, brothers and sisters, but He first gave us Love.  I’m pretty sure the voice was to express that, not anything less than.

Be prepared, however, when you speak of God and His glory.  There are some that find that troublesome as well.  As if believing in God, and His ability to pull you out of rough waters, is a mental disorder that is something that needs to be dealt with.  But isn’t that the way it’s always been?

Earlier this week, I was helping my mom through a Bible study in Acts 1-4, which I had never read before.  In the later parts of it, I learned that Peter and John had been arrested for, what my understanding is, preaching about Jesus and His good works and what He is capable of.  This did not sit well with the boss men, so they had Peter and John arrested, telling them they could never do that again.  It was something interesting to learn, and at the time, it was knowledge, at best.  However, the other night, telling somebody that nobody could help me through what I was going through but God landed me in quite the conundrum, one in which my rights and control were completely taken away.  I won’t say that the catalyst to this event didn’t play into that decision, however, my statement did not sit well with the one in charge of my fate at the moment.

So for quite a while, I found myself with only God to call upon for strength, remembering the verse from Philipians 4:13, which happens to be my wife’s favorite Bible verse, and the one I played over most in my head during my time of trial, so to speak…”I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”  And I waited, and prayed, and meditated, and Trusted, and relied on truth, and the Truth of God…and thought about this song.

Many thanks to God for renewing my strength during that time. 

My mother-in-law’s birthday was on Friday, we had a wonderful family meal at Outback.  It was great to be around everyone, although afterwards, it was nice to come home and just call it a family night around the television.  Saturday we started the day off lazy, although much deserved after the week we had.  We decided to go tubing down the salt river, however, after an hour of getting ready, getting in the car and hopping on the expressway, a phone call to the recreation park revealed that they were no longer renting out tubes for the day because the weather conditions weren’t favorable.  That was a kick in the junk, since we were trying so hard to take a mental vacation and just have fun, regardless of how much it cost that we shouldn’t spend.  We were quite disappointed, but eventually, the day went on…even though we had some battling to do with our daughter.  Some things never change.

Sunday…yep, church.  Nope.  We played hookey today and reclaimed our opportunity to take that mental vacation and just do something, dammit!  We deserved it…and it was the last day to go for the season.  We got all of our stuff together, drove up the mountain, got in the water, said our prayer, thanked God for bringing us all together, asked Him to forgive us for not going to His house today, as we were working on forgiveness with each other, and proceeded to float on down the river.  It was a blast…we had so much fun.  It was peaceful, beautiful, exciting…offered up a time for trust, and just…well, time together, and a break from the monotony of our daily struggles. 

For some reason, I have a calling to the mountains, and I feel the closest to God when I’m in them.  I had the time to just be close without thinking too much, just plug in and get recharged, and hopefully, I’m charged enough to face the week ahead.  I have Christ in me, I hear Him, through music, through the Word, and He holds me close….so too, shall I hold Him close.

~Dear Lord, please forgive me the sins of my week, as my weakness overcame me.  Thank you for your protection and for guiding me back to you, Lord.  Please continue to wrap your arms around me and my family as we face struggles of daily lives that the world imparts on us, help us to overcome them and to lift our family and our selves, our own hearts and lives above anything else.  Thank you for your blessings, and for allowing us to have this wonderful day together.  In your most precious and Holy name, I pray.  Amen~

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~