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~

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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~

The Christmas Story – Rock’n It Out

Dear Jesus,

Happy Birthday!  I started thinking about things after church the other day, like I’m supposed to do, and one of the things I thought about was when Pastor Daryl talked about how Christmas has become a contact sport because it’s all about the good deals on all the gifts, and people display everything they can about the Christmas season, but a lot of people have forgotten about the gift that You, Jesus Christ, are to us all, the gift that God gave, his only begotten son, to give the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love, and the gift of salvation…thank you, thank you, Jesus.  So, the pastor said that before we get to carried away with gifts, we should light some candles on a cake and sing “Happy Birthday.”  Now, you know that I’ve done this before, when I’ve gone out and bought a cake for your birthday, and this year I was thinking about baking one.  But…as you know, I’m giving a go at my mom’s famous stuffing for my wife’s side of the family, and I’m making a nice, but modest, Christmas dinner for the eve of your birth for my crew.  I have a little bit of culinary pressure going on here, and plus, none of us need the sugar. 

But,  hey, I’m not a baker anyway!  I blog and rock…and make videos.  And since I am a child of yours, you know what kind of child I can be…not so traditional, but very grateful, loving, and sincere.  Thank God for You!  You are the greatest birthday gift of all.  I hope you enjoy the musical story to follow, especially my video at the end…I hope it finds you in good humor.  In your most Holy and Precious name, Lord, I glorify, praise, and pray.  Amen!

Sing along!!  It makes you feel good!!

Make a wish!!

****NO VIDEO HERE ANYMORE, AT LEAST FOR NOW.  SINCE I MADE THE VIDEO AS A GIFT I WON’T PUT ANY OTHER ONE UP HERE.  ESSENTIALLY, HOWEVER, IT’S A REALLY COOL WAY OF SAYING HAPPY BIRTHDAY****

Jukebox Novel

First, I’m going to say that I’m going to be praying that the words that I find to be able to tell you all that I want to say, describe all that I feel I want to, and the ability to not turn it into a three day novel, come to me with little ease, yet, with accurate meaning and emotion.  Amen

Hopefully, that will start working soon.  I struggled even to type that prayer out.  It’s easier just to feel it in your heart and know it your mind, and God, knows exactly what your heart means, ya know?  It’s like…if you over-think that emotion, try desperately to figure out every little thing about it, including it’s name, so as to put a word to it, the more you will struggle with the entire emotion, or sentence, as a whole.  Does any of this make sense?  If not, oh well…it makes sense to me.

Just know that it has been an incredible week.  A series of blessings from our Lord has me feeling like I’m wrapped in a blanket of spiritual coziness and contentedness.  While it’s been a rough week, one in which fears and concerns lingered around matters of our hearts, both physiologically and figuratively, all of our prayers were answered and we are all alive, well, and together…Glory be to God.

I already took a time out from writing this because I got stumped with my words.  Words are definitely going to be hard to come by, other than for story telling, as I’ve told you before, God talks to me through my music, especially this week.  So, I guess I’m just going to have to tell you a story, and provide the soundtrack that went along with it.  Now, one could say that it’s easily coincidental, considering that most of these songs are on my MP3 player already, and I am therefore bound to hear them.  However, because it’s set on shuffle, I am going to hear them in whatever order I am destined to hear them.  Can God control my electronic devices?  Yes He can!  When he knows that I’m not going to be the one to open The Bible and expect a certain verse to stick out, and I’m not the one to get goosebumps in 110 degree weather following a prayer, nor am I the one to hear His voice call out to me in the clearing in a forest, He places His will unto my MP3 player and it is through that I hear Him telling me all that I need to know.  Sounds silly, huh?  I actually call my MP3 player my HIM-P3 player, originally because all that was on it was the band HIM, now, also, because of Him.

Since Monday, I’ve already had a song in mind for this weeks blog.  I’m not sure why it came to me, and I’m not sure why I considered it, considering that it’s actually quite a special song.  In fact, I didn’t really give it too much thought when I first thought about it, thinking that it was early yet, and that, surely, something else would come along.  But, much like the reason behind the special nature of this song, my mind and my heart refused to give up on it, and, from that point on, it’s as if everything else just seemed to fall into place.  I noticed the singer from a movie I had seen before, albeit, not one that kept me very interested.  When we got the all clear that my mother-in-law was alright to come home from the hospital, it was the first song to come on my player when I went to go get the car yesterday.  No, I hadn’t listened to it yet, the song had just popped into my head earlier in the week, and again, I wouldn’t let go of it.

God is like that too.  When He’s got you, He’s got you…mind, body, and spirit.  And when you’ve got Him, you’ve got Him, no matter what, and no matter what is going on around you.  And when you surrender all those things, including yourself to Him, then you can finally be in a relationship with Him.  A relationship is not just with one person, you can’t just have it with yourself, and you can’t control it, both people equally interact within it.  In a relationship with God, it is no different, there is still giving and getting.  You still have to give yourself to Him to be able to receive Him, and however the dynamics work, it can be a beautiful story.

So I sang out loud to that song, as I was sitting there waiting in the car for my wife and Mama-T, before I decided to play it one more time, just to listen to again.  And then I moved on to the next one, a song I had known since the mid-90’s, one in which I had always moved me and found a bit of myself in.  The song has come up a few times before in the past, that is, when I’ve chosen to listen to it instead of skipping over it once the newness of it wore off, in times when I’ve probably needed to listen to it most.  It still invoked the same emotions in me, although my inability to really describe emotions to you write now, unfortunately, leaves me with little else to say about what that means.  However, when I consider the other times that my spirit has told my mind to tell my body not to let my finger press “skip,” such as when I lost my son, and my best friend, and when I consider some of the darkness that I’ve been stumbling in and out of, I’m grateful to have received the blessing of this song as well.

On the way home, I didn’t get a chance to continue to listening to any music.  My wife was making phone calls and I had the window down to smoke a cigarette, which in her terms, means it was to loud so I needed to sacrifice one or the other.  It’s not being mean, it’s just too much road noise.  I decided to turn the player off, which I usually only listen to in the car unless I need it for something else.

That night, I needed it for cooking.  When I’m spending a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, I like to have my music going.  And since the family was in the living room watching t.v., I listened to my MP3 player instead of just grabbing my laptop and listening without headphones.  It was like picking up on God’s messages from where I left off.

I pressed play, and I admit, I did hit the skip button, opting to skip over a song by my favorite band HIM, a song that I usually listen to ALL the time, but really just didn’t feel like listening to this time.  It took a nano-second for my spirit to tell my mind to tell my body to press skip.  And then a song came up that I had heard earlier this week, at the local holiday boat parade, actually.  I was excited when I heard it the first time, and even more so when I heard it this time.  It was like God was my DJ all of a sudden and my kitchen became my dance floor.  It was as if a weight had been lifted from me.  In light of all the recent conditions and conversations going on in all the facets of my world, it was then that it felt like it was like a Friday night at the club and I was in my 20’s again, and all I was doing was dancing around my little apartment kitchen, cooking chicken parmesan for my family, just letting the spirit move me in everything I did and felt.  I was grateful for everything I had in that room and the fact that God was letting me have them all another day, so his blessing was like my drug, made me all starry-eyed.  He can do that to you, ya know!

Dang it, I got so caught up in dancing, I forgot to pre-heat the oven!  Oh well, I just had to listen to another song and dilly-dally around the kitchen a little longer before I put the chicken in.  The next song that came up was just a classic song that I had been rockin’ out to since I was young.  It’s just a feel good song, but this time, I wasn’t dancing quite as crazy.  I think I put a little air guitar in there somewhere right before our daughter came into the kitchen, not that there’s much room, and wanted to know what I was listening and dancing too.  (To see if I had the right rhythm perhaps?)  I informed her of the song and she didn’t know it, I wasn’t surprised, but she took my other earbud and popped it in her ear to listen for a moment so she too could experience the amazing sound and beat.  But more than that, going back to what I said about being grateful for everything I had in that room, when she grabbed my other earbud, I didn’t freak out.  Normally, it’s something that I wouldn’t allow.  I’m a mild germaphobe and I don’t like when other people use things of mine that are somewhat personal.  I don’t allow her to use my earbuds, drink out of my cups, I don’t eat anything of hers after she’s eaten it (like a bag of chips), stuff like that.  This particular instance, however, it was as if it went completely unnoticed or it was something totally usual and something I didn’t mind.  Patience and tolerance IS something I’ve been praying an awful lot for lately.  That God of ours…

Alright, the chicken went in the oven and it was time for a cigarette.  I bolted out the door, player still on, and the next song was just about to cue up.  Wait…this isn’t like all the others.  I can’t dance to this one.  Ahh…I see!  This one is meant to make me think.  It’s funny that this song came up, it takes me forever to even try to find it when it’s on shuffle, and it’s the only song I have by this particular artist, and I’ve referenced the person that introduced me to this particular artist quite often this last week.  It made sense that this song came up, again, because of all the darkness I’ve been stumbling through, not just recent, but lifelong.  But recently, it seems like I feel the need to put the weight of the world on my shoulders when I know it doesn’t belong there and I know my shoulders cannot, and has no business holding the weight.  God did not intend on me carrying the weight I’ve carrying, so I just needed to take a moment, walk around, smoke, and really think about dumping those extra pounds.  Yes, I can care.  Yes, I can love.  Yes, I can feel bad about…  Yes, I can be angry that… But, I can’t control what others do with whatever it is that I had to with it, ya follow?  It’s like trying to push a boulder uphill and it keeps rolling down, like Sisyphus, in ancient Greek mythology.  (Another interesting story for another time)  And I don’t have so much control over life that “if this…then that…”  Like when our cat disappeared earlier this week, I felt like I had done something wrong, and it was therefore my fault and I, was therefore, being punished.  Really?  Does God really work like that?  (That is just a mild example)

I came back inside and got dinner ready.  That means that I portioned it and plated it up all nice and pretty the way that I like to do.  Then we sat down and ate a nice family meal together for the first day since Monday.  Later on that night, The X Factor came on.  Yep, more music!  One of the first songs that really hit me was a song from a long time ago, a song that I had burned to a CD for my mom for Christmas at one point.  But when I heard it last night, everything about it changed, and I knew, for sure, to whom the song belonged to, at least in my heart.

The very last song brought tears to my eyes, in fact, if I took a breath through the entire song, I wouldn’t have known it.  I’ve loved this song since I first heard it, although the first time I heard it was in the movie Shrek.  There’s really not much I can say about this song, it just is what it is.  And when there’s nothing else, there’s always a “Hallelujah.”

After the show, we watched the next show, “I Hate My Teenage Daughter.”  It’s a funny show, and my wife and I laughed our butts off the entire time, finding absolute ironic humor in the fact we can laugh at some of the same situations that this t.v. family goes through when we struggle and scream through them.  Then we attempted to watch a movie, but my wife was tired and started to fall asleep, so I started working on a video for our daughter’s birthday.  I came out to the kitchen to grab a snack before I got started and she was out in the living room uploading songs to her computer that she purchased from her Itunes birthday card from her dad, which was totally unexpected, and which she was really excited about.  As I was fixing up a snack, she was playing a song in the background that sounded familiar, however, I couldn’t quite place it.  I liked it, and I knew that I had heard it before, so I asked her about it and went on about my night.  But then, it made sense.  I heard it on X-Factor also, which is the version I’m using because Josh’s revision is more “me”, but it summarizes so much of the last seven years of my life, our lives, where we’ve come from, and where we are now.  It started way back with The Greatest Story Ever Told.

~Lord, I can’t express enough, my gratitude for all the blessings you’ve given us throughout this week.  Your Love and Truth shines bright upon us, and I glorify You for all that You are and all that You do.  Thank you, also, for the healthy blessing of the new baby girl in the family.  Please continue to watch over our health and happiness as we continue to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of your birth, Oh Lord.  Please continue to shine your light on us all around the world and make us open to receive your light and Truth.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen~

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~