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~

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Happy Birthday to My Daughter

Dear God…

On this day, seventeen years ago, you blessed the world with a little girl, although some joke and beg to differ.  I don’t have the memory of being able to look back and share how many pounds she was, or how many inches, or whether she cried when she first saw the light of the world, and no, I didn’t get to hold her.  Those precious blessings were reserved for her mom and dad.

When she came into my life, she was just a couple inches beneath my shoulders, but I could pick her up if I wanted to when we were horsing around.  I was never the kind of person to be able to handle “girly” things, so it took some getting used to when I would shop for things she would like, pink things, young-girl make up, cute clothes, stuff that I had no interest in when I was in my youth and stuff that I never thought I would ever buy, as I always prayed for a son, and I was blessed with, even though he made it to Heaven before I did.

It didn’t take me long to figure out this “daughter” situation though, as natural instincts of parenting started kicking in, and then further instincts of parenting a girl kicked in, being extra mindful of those clothes and make-up as she grew older.  And when boys started becoming more a part of her life, an over-protective nature started kicking in even more.  Yet, along the way, over the years, I’ve fine-tuned those instincts and been able to reserve my actions and reactions, for the most part, so as to not actually just lock her up in the highest room in the tallest tower forever.

As you know, Lord, there have been a lot of struggles and trials along the way, some of which have gotten completely out of control.  Emotions get the best of us when we care about somebody so much that we love them so much and get hurt by them at the same time, but thankfully, Lord, because of that love, we always have it to come back to, no matter what the struggle was.

And aside from the struggles, we’ve had fun.  We have our memories, we have our inside jokes, we have our own things that we just know about each other and it’s okay, even if those things annoy us sometimes.  Like when she follows me all around just because, even at the age of, well, now seventeen.  But she’s been doing it since she was twelve, so unless I really don’t want the company…why say anything? 

But, Lord, we wouldn’t have any of these things at all if you wouldn’t have blessed her mom and dad first with her.  So thank you for that.  And thank you for letting me be part of her picture.  Amen.

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~

Remember…

Remember….

It seems like the majority of our lives are filled with “remembering” things.  Especially around this time of year.

Did you remember to get all those end of the year projects done?  Did you remember to get all the holiday cards out to everyone you know?  Did you remember to buy all the presents that you wanted to buy for everyone?  Did you remember to pay those bills?  Did you remember to…

It’s the same thing that happens every year around Christmas.  We remember everything that we wanted to do for Christmas, buy everything, send everything, but we forget why we’re celebrating it.  It’s as if we should just start calling the holiday Presentmas, or Partymas, or Debtmas.

I’m not saying that people don’t know that Christmas represents the day that Jesus Christ was born.  I’m just saying that, once the season pulls around (which gets earlier and earlier every year due to retail mind-plucking), most of what people do has nothing to do with the upcoming celebration of Christ’s birth, or, Christmas.  It’s about buying in excess, making sure one person’s house is decorated prettier than the next, partying in excess with the convenience of Christmas as an excuse, and when Christmas Eve finally pulls around, how many of those Christians come out on Holy days flock to the Churches and Thank God for His only begotten son.

In short, the holidays bother me.  I’m not saying that I’m totally innocent either.  I went shopping and bought a few things here and there, what I could afford, nothing on credit.  No, I haven’t had any spare change to toss to the Salvation Army bell ringers, but I know that there have been quite a few people that have benefited from my kindness.  I decorated our apartment but it’s not overdone and there are plenty of apartments that are far more flashy than ours.  We haven’t had a party but we did enjoy an afternoon dinner with some friends from a church and a friend from our complex…just because.  Sorry, no alcohol.  Tea, Tang, Water, and Coffee.  We sent out a few Christmas cards and have a few more to send over the next couple days.  Other than that, the season, thus far, has been mostly relaxed and calm…as it should be.  After all, we’re about to celebrate the birth of Christ….again!!  And Christ represents joy and peace, not stress and chaos.

I decorated our apartment the other day, which is at least half the size of the house that we used to live in.  I could have sworn that I packed up the Christmas tree when we moved, but, alas, it wasn’t in the storage closet when I pulled out all the Christmas stuff.  Perhaps we sold it, thinking that we would get a new one this year.  Originally, we weren’t going to be here for Christmas, as we were going to spend time in Texas with my side of the family, so we decided not to get a tree and worry about not getting to enjoy it anyway.  Plus, we don’t have enough space, and it is such a hassle to put up, decorate, then take down again…not to mention the dangers involved with the cat.

But, I really wanted to put some Christmas cheer into this place, maybe put a little bit of a smile on some faces around here, so I went along with an idea that my wife saw, making a wall tree out of garland.  I found the most special ornaments we had, ones that have been following all of us through our lives, ones we had made, and ones that were given to us, and put only those on, instead of all the regular colored ball ornaments that are so fragile that break if the wind blows on them wrong.  I obviously couldn’t put our angel on top of the tree, but she’s out and lit up, along with our nativity set, our stockings are hung under the kitchen bar, and a few other Christmas decorations are out.  It’s simple…but pretty.  And the coolest thing is that during dinner that night, we must have stayed at the table for a good half hour after we were done eating just talking about all the ornaments and decorations, remembering where they came from and what they meant to us, telling each other about them…for the ump-teenth time while Christmas music played softly in the background.  Sounds like a fake, made-for-t.v. night, right?  It’s not…but it’s a nice night to remember.

right above our dining room tableIt’s important to remember…remember that, if not for Jesus Christ, there would be no meaning to life at all, no Hope, no Faith, no Love.  There would be nothing to look forward to hereafter, there would be nothing to be thankful for now.  Everyday would just be another day, but with Christ, we have hope for peace and joy, and a promise of it as well.  Remember that God gave us the greatest gift ever….His son.  Jesus gave us Hope, Faith and Love, and the greatest is Love, which is the greatest gift we should be passing on during Christmas, all throughout our lives in fact.  Remember…He loves you, all of you, whether you remember Him or not.

The song I’m picking this week is a song that my mom and I really love by Mark Schultz.  She once had the opportunity to meet him when my brother hosted him during a concert he played at a church in Texas many years ago.  She brought me home an autographed CD of his, which I then gave to my tattoo artists, who had just been saved and had turned from a life of chaos to Christianity.  I would have loved to have made a video to this song, but our new internet service is so slow that it takes twenty-four years to upload anything anymore.  ~Dear Lord, please help the company we use that says they offer the fastest service be able to provide some faster service soon~

~Dear Lord, Jesus…Thank you, once again, for all of your countless blessings this week.  most especially for your guidance, strength, and faith we’ve faced stressors and struggles.  Please watch over Mama-T’s surgery tomorrow, see that she sings all the way through and comes out singing as well, so that she can continue to sing and glorify you.  Please watch over all of us in our travels and please wrap your arms around the world to help them find those gifts that you’ve given to us, Hope, Faith, and Love, that the world may start to become less chaotic and stressful, within their own lives and towards others.  Lord, all things can be done through you, which means peace, joy, and healthy outcomes can be obtained through you, so it is that which I seek for all of those I love and all those around me, Lord.  It is in your 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~

Why Deny The Obvious Child?

This week has surely been a blessed one!

A week of miracles, a week of togetherness, a week of tiny revelations, a week of growth.  Of course, this week hasn’t gone by without it’s fair share of less than glorious moments either, but really, who’s got it that good?

I did my best to stay prayed up, finished off Ecclesiastes and am on my way to finding peace, and received the good news that the cancer that was taking up residency in my mom’s lungs can no longer be identified as cancer, as reported by the doctors who reviewed both sets of suspicious tissues from two different procedures.  No, she did not undergo any type of treatment or change her lifestyle…she added to her lifestyle.  She started opening herself up to God more, little by little each day.  God…does the body good!  Seems He can cure cancer!  Glory be to God…Amen!

So every Monday night my wife, daughter, and I watch Dancing With The Stars with my wife’s mom.  Sometimes we watch the Results Show together too, but it depends on whose house we started at on Monday night.  This week, we all spent Monday and Tuesday together, as Mama-T spent the night.  She was here when we got the good news and was able to share the joy with us.  After all, she was praying for my mom too.  Heck, there were people praying for my mom that never even met her or even knew she existed.  But spending time with people brings about a sense of closeness, knowing each other, about each other, having a good time with each other, talking with each other, getting to know a person’s true self behind the laptops, smartphones, mp3 players and computerized book things.  Having to rely on just each other for communication and entertainment is getting to be a very boring and tough task for families and friends to do lately.  I’ve noticed…because I can’t help but to notice…

Have you ever been in a public place and looked around you to see how many people are looking down at their “gadget?”  My wife and I spent forty-five minutes on the rail the other day, one way at least, noticing how many people were in their own little world…texting, reading their pad, listening to their mp3 player, not even bothering to acknowledge the person that is sitting right beside them.  And should that person acknowledge them, they won’t be heard anyway…everyone has ear-buds permanently implanted in their ears.

So that led to a revelation.  That when Jesus comes back…He’s gonna have a big problem!  If He doesn’t break through all forms of gadgets so people can hear Him through their ear-buds, and if He doesn’t send out a mass text message, or if He’s not on T.V….sooooo many people are gonna miss Him.

No, really, my revelation was that people need to get back in touch with each other.  Keep it simple, keep it with love, keep it meaningful.  Get on the train, take time to talk with your neighbor, you just may make their day…or they may make yours, either way, what do you have to lose?  Everything else is meaningless and will be there when you get of the train…oh, and spread the Word if you can…God likes that, and you start feeling better about yourself the more you do it.  It’s like, the more you talk about something the more you take on the characteristics or the feelings of it…so the more you talk about Christ and His good works, the more you become Christ-like and are able to easily do good works of your own.

At least, that’s what the teacher in Ecclesiastes and Paul in Philippians lead me to believe, and I have to believe in what they say, as teachers, if I’m expected to know The Lord and grow in my relationship with Him.

I know I have been maturing, slowly, but it counts.  And I’m human, with stumbling blocks, so sometimes I get stuck or fall back, but I’ll get there.  Some things, apparently, need to be hammered out a little bit more than others before I can move on to the next, and being that I’m not really the one who has laid my path, yet only decides how to walk it, it doesn’t really seem to be up to me which blocks I have to hammer away at.  Lately, it seems, patience and anger.

That, too, with prayer and God’s help, seems to be something I’m maturing in.  I’ve had a few small reasons to get angry this week, teenage daughter reasons, but I handled them quite well…in a fair but firm manner.  As for the reasons behind why I would have gotten angry in the first place…well, I guess we just have to keep praying about those ones.  As for the patience, well, it’s almost a forced hand right now, but it’s how I’m dealing with that hand that’s impressive.

I had to sell my truck this week, take an evil loss on it, although it would have been a lot more difficult to come up with the money for repairs when it decided it was going to kick the bucket.  So now we’re down to one car again, which typically works out fine, except for when we need to be in two different places at the same time, which isn’t very often.  So now I sit with a small down payment and my eye on a certain type of car, and so close to the ability to go drive off some lot that might have it in the price range that we can work it out so that it doesn’t break us.  Typically, this is something we try to handle quickly, as neither one of us like to be without a vehicle, but, we’re not in that comfortable of a position right now, and furthermore, I’m not really sweatin’ it that much.  The man says he can’t work the deal with what I have to offer, no problem.  Usually I’d walk away all bummed out and pout about it…but I really don’t even give it a second thought now.  Why should I?  There’s nothing I can do about it!  I can’t go grow another thousand dollars just to get THAT car…and besides, it didn’t have an arm rest…the other one did!  There’ll be another one…another day…

I tell ya, Ecclesiastes is almost like a guide to hippie-tude.  It’s all good!  And then in Philipians, Paul tells us that we should let go of what’s behind us and grasp on to what is ahead of us so that we may be Heaven-bound…and that, at any given point in time, we can only give what we have within us to offer…so don’t try so hard, and don’t sweat it if we’re not up to the task yet.  At that point, it all goes back to Ecclesiastes…everything has a time and a place!

Geez, The Bible is a great self-help book, great treasure map, great book of prose!  I mean, Matthew was an excellent map of the Truth and how to live your life according to God, Job was an amazing, almost “Greek Tragedy” kind of story that I would love to re-enacted on screen or stage, Ecclesiastes was almost like chillin’ with some old hippie teacher, smokin’ a bowl and ranting about the world, but in the end you gain wisdom and appreciation, and Philippians gives you a little personal look from Paul, like finding a long lost letter, with a little bit about himself, his journey, and how he continues to encourage and guide people through Faith.  Thank you, God, for all of it!

Philippians 3:13 – 16  13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.

~Dearest Heavenly Father, thank you for all the blessings you have bestowed upon us and continue to bestow upon us, for all the miracles You work within us, within our lives, our hearts, our minds and our spirits, enabling us to live and be healthy, live and be joyful, live and be wise.  Please wrap your loving arms around all those who need your Love and Kindness in their times of need who may need an extra boost of faith and comfort.  Please watch over all of us in our health concerns, happiness, and travels, most especially over your servant, and our Talon, who will be joining the ranks of the United States Military this week, to further serve You, The Lord, by serving your people.  Please wrap your arms around all those who love him and will miss his immediate presence and voice, help them feel comfort and content in knowing that You, Lord, are protecting him and that he is on to the next stage in his Heaven-bound journey.  All these things, I ask, in your most high and precious name, Lord.  Amen~