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~

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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~

Where Were You? Controversial?

Once again, it’s Sunday evening, just before six o’clock, and I’m just starting this week’s post.  This week has been somewhat busy, mostly comprised of being sick and not feeling up to getting on the computer to do anything, and then saving my energy to help my mother-in-law move into her new apartment on Saturday.  Has anything major kept me from starting early and getting something really good going here?  No.  I even started working on a video…but only have a compilation of clips so far.  Lack of inspiration maybe?  Maybe just another week full of frustration from the events going on around me?  I don’t know.  I wish I knew…but I’m not going to go into all of that right now.  Right now, I have something bothering me.  The whole country does.  And right now, I’m going to address it, and some of you may not like it, but I’m doing it to come to grips with something and to try to understand it from a Christian point of view.

Throughout this entire week, media has bombarded us with everything to do about the ten year anniversary 9/11.  First, most importantly, I would like to say that I’ve prayed about this as much as I can, to the point of inner turmoil…prayed for the families who have been affected first hand by the loss and devastation from the events that took place on our soil on that day, prayed for the souls of those who lost their lives that day, prayed for people who put their lives on the line to help all those people in need that day, and for all those people who could do nothing but stand by in the most heart-breaking, fearful, and confusing moments, just watching, listening, and waiting to find out what in hell, because it surely seemed as though we were in it, was going on.  So before I bring it home, I’ll indulge, along with the media, and allow myself to post this song, which I almost refuse to listen to anymore (even though I love it), so that we can really, truly, take a look into that day, really think about it and get in touch with that feeling.  Think about it…don’t just think about where you were, don’t just think about what you were doing, or who you were with…you will always remember that…but what about that entire day?  What were you thinking and feeling when you saw what the media was showing it before they censored it?  Be honest!

So, now that you’ve seen those clips, over and over again…and again, and heard the song again, for however many times you’ve heard it, can you describe you how really feel, as if you’ve felt it for the first time?  Like it was that day?

We will never forget that day!  That day was so personal to every single one of us in this country, in this world.  I was at home, my parent’s house, my grandma was in the kitchen and I had just gotten out of the shower.  I was heading downstairs to my room to get ready for work when my grandma called me to the kitchen to show me that the first tower had just been hit by an aircraft.  How shocking.  Oh my gosh!  We stood there in the corner of the kitchen together, watching, waiting for information, this was terrible, all those people!  And all those people on the floors above where the plain hit, how are they going to get them out of there??  We were already watching, holding our breath…then out of the corner of the screen…HOLY SHIT!!!  ANOTHER PLANE!!!  IT HIT!!  IT HIT!!!   WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?  (Yes, I swore, it’s my blog, my feelings, and I said…I was bringing this home!)  My grandma and I started to panic, my heart felt like it stopped, this wasn’t an accident, this was something much bigger, much scarier, something beyond our comprehension…and it was unfolding right before our eyes…and all we could do was watch.

My mom was in Dallas at the time, my dad was at work, and I was worried about leaving my grandma at home while I went to work, but I had to go, it’s my job after all, but I didn’t know what was going on, and there was still very little information coming in between the time that the second plane hit and when I had to leave.  I called my mom to check in with her and then left for work, listening to the radio station the entire way forty-five minute drive.  Oh my God!  A plane hit the pentagon!  What, Dear God, is going on?  America is under attack, my grandma is at home, my dad is at work, my mom is in Dallas, and we lived in Detroit…it seemed as though they were hitting major hubs that would bring down our country.  It was logical to me to think that Detroit could be one of them…bring down the Motor City and see what happens.  Well, it’s already been proven in the last few years…take away Ford, Chrysler, and GM and the economic downfall of the country began.  But I was worried…we could have been a target…but I didn’t know what to think.  Who knew what to think.  It was still early in the day and it was already overwhelmed with chaos, panic, fear, and confusion.

I got to work and a little while later found out that another plane went down in a field in Pennsylvania.  It was coming closer.  Our supervisors gave us an option to leave and go home if we chose, there would be nothing held against us if did go, but I stayed.  I spent my entire shift looking out the window at my cubicle, watching the skies, imagining the worse case scenario…what if?  Not that my place of business should be any kind of target, but why was any of this happening at all?  I couldn’t wait to get home…

When I got home, every channel was lit up with footage of what had occurred from the time the first plane hit the first tower until what was going at that night.  The media covered everything, they censored nothing!  And I watched.  We all watched.  After going through the entire day, having seen the start, heard bits of information, wondering, worrying, being scared, being confused, now…I felt obligated to know what the hell happened, why, and what it looked like.  Now…part of me wishes it was a part of history that I could only read in history books and not have the turmoil of having gone through the experience of.

Why?  Because the media is the devil.  The media shows no mercy.  They showed us EVERYTHING!  We saw almost all of it, play by play, at least the twin towers portion of it…and it’s all burned into my mind and heart in a way that makes it that I can no longer watch anything 9/11 anymore.

I sat on the edge of my bed, watching the television, they were showing the towers burning, going up in smoke, people hanging out windows for air…and then…they showed people jumping.  From heights unimaginable…people jumped.  Because there was no better option of suffering for them…they jumped.  Burn or jump?  Suffer or end it on my own?  Can you imagine being that person?  No…you cannot!  Can you ever place yourself in that person’s head, knowing that he or she has a family at home, more than likely watching on t.v, and all you did was go to work that day, and suddenly you find yourself in a position where you know it’s over, but everywhere around you is…well, I don’t even know what adjective to place here because I wasn’t there…but tell me, what does it take for someone to hurl themselves out of an 80 story window to their death and fall like a ragdoll just to avoid burning to death?  And the media showed it.  All night long!

The next day, they stopped showing such sensitive material, but the rest of it remained.  Then the sound bytes started coming in from middle east, the celebratory cheers of a “job well done.”  It was twisting the knife in the hearts of us all even further and harder.

It all kept going…and going…and it never stopped.  It hasn’t stopped.  The first year after it happened, it was all the country could talk about, of course, and it was to be expected.  We just got dealt a major blow, and we were hurt, and pissed, but united….although unitedly pissed, and that’s not good.  The second year came around, and of course, there is a day of remembrance, which is to be expected.  We all had our united moment of silence and prayed, we talked about it with friend and family and went back to that day when….

But as the years have passed…we haven’t forgotten.  We don’t want to, but we also haven’t been allowed to heal.  We’ve been bombarded, every year, with documentaries, special occasions, news events, clips, videos, sound bytes, everything you can imagine that brings back that day, those memories, those moments of chaos, panic, confusion, and fear.  And that’s where I have the problem.

How can anyone be expected to heal in the midst of obsession?  Remembering is one thing, but bringing it back so hard, so raw, every year, is uncalled for.  It’s not fair to the families, to those who live with the trauma of that day, to all of us, as we all have a personal devastation attached to that day.  There is no need to keep reliving, yet, just letting us remember it, peacefully, without all they media hype and the images that take us back to that place in our minds and hearts that we don’t want to be is doing an incredible injustice to the people of this world.  I mourn for the loss of those lives, I pray for families and friends who lost someone in the events of 9/11, I salute all those, government and civilian alike, who put their lives at risk during the events, I cannot express enough the gratitude and sense of unity and Faith I feel from those people who took charge of the hijackers and took the plane down in the field in Pennsylvania, and I pray for everyone that one day, we can come through this without having to relive it at such an expense.

That day changed everything for this country.  So many things, as we knew it, changed that day.  It wasn’t just the loss of lives, it was the loss of life as we knew it.  We grew an anger toward people that was not predominately there, but every year since, because we keep reliving it, and are reminded of the fear, we continue to harbor and show this anger.  We grew a fear that, since then, every year we are reminded of, and no we are no longer able to just breath without being afraid that something is going to happen, especially around 9/11…why not?  We’ve allowed them to let us be afraid of them, so why not continue to threaten us when we are most vulnerable and emotionally fragile?  We grew a bitterness that, since then, we’ve not been able to sweeten, because every year we are reminded of what happened that day, so we are re-poisoned with those thoughts.  And some, unfortunately, grew even more insensitive to human reality, life and death.  By that I mean, while I know it’s the media’s responsibility to keep us informed, why is it okay that they make it into something more fit for an “R” rated movie?  Why is it okay to show that moment between life and death?  Better yet…why is it okay that we, as humans, find it acceptable to watch someone else’s mortality to the point that every network strives to have the best footage, or make the best documentary, or make the best “made for t.v” movie?

It’s been ten years to the day since terrorists hijacked U.S passenger planes and attacked The United States by way of suicide missions.  Two planes targeted the Twin Towers in New York City, causing total devastation of both towers, with the death toll numbering in the depressing thousands, including civilian and non-civilian lives.  Another mission targeted and destroyed a section of The Pentagon, mission being, “to play God with people’s lives” and, therefore, took almost three hundred of them.  A final plane, the infamous Flight 93, was believed to be heading toward Washington D.C., however, having not counted on the will of people to live, love for other people, and Faith in God, the passengers overtook the hijackers, forcing their way into the cockpit to steer them off course, ultimately, sacrificing their lives and crashing the plane into a field in Pennsylvania before the remainder of their terrorist’s mission could be completed.  The United States States took quite a hit from nowhere that day, and declared to get the leader behind it.  In fact, just this year, the supposed leader behind the attacks was found and killed, non-intended but necessary, so we’re told.  A beautiful memorial has been built from Ground Zero, the place where it all started, where Twin Towers once stood.  We’ve had vigils every year across the nation, maybe in other places around the world.  We’ve had church services that pertains to 9/11 around or on 9/11 for the last ten years, like today, and, to be perfectly honest, I almost left.  Although I’m glad I didn’t.  And I’ll tell you why.

This tragedy is fresh, it’s raw, it still cuts like a knife and the more we keep picking at it the worse it will get.  We, as the families, as the survivors, as the individuals, as the the by-standers, will never heal from the hurt…and most certainly will never heal from the fear, anger, and bitterness that, as a child of God, will cost us more in the end if we choose to refuse the best way of dealing with this tragedy in all of our lives.

 1 Cor 14: Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.

Make every effort to live in peace and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord.  It means you just love, just do it already.  Jesus died for us and our sins because He loves us, despite our sins, which we’re still accountable for, don’t get me wrong.  He doesn’t discriminate based on race, gender, nationality, political affiliation, brand of clothing, or anything.  He’s our father, and He will be giving us a talking to about what we did here on earth, because He loves us, and wants what’s best for us, and allows us our choices based on what He’s taught us.  He taught us a lot of things, there’s this huge book He left for us in case we get forget, The Bible, but the three most important things He taught us is Faith, Hope, and Love…but the greatest, is Love.

Matthew 5:46  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?

Meaning, if you don’t branch out and extend your Christian embrace of love around those who aren’t even like you, whom you may have prejudgments about, whatever the case may be, is that doing anything special or anything Christ-like?  No.  Tax Collectors, or in this case, terrorists, are doing the same thing.  Those men did not “just love” and, therefore, did what they did.

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.  Ah, bitterness.  I mentioned before that we had grown bitter as a nation, toward groups of people threatening our nation, and groups of people who look like them, and bitter toward the fact that our very comforts of life have, thusly, been sacrificed so that our seventy year old grandma practically has to have a magnetic wand shoved up her butt to get on a plane.  But bitterness is like a venom, once you get bitten with it, it runs through your blood and messes with the very core of who you are…if you don’t catch it on time.  And if you don’t catch it on time, you’ll start passing it along to others, your children are extremely susceptible.  And bitterness acts as a fuel as well, because the more our mouths speak foully of others, and the more we behave foully toward others, the more the “others” will do so in return.  You see where I’m going here?  It’s a vicious cycle…the extreme version of it is called vengeance, the first act of war.  True, it’s harder to love people that you don’t know or don’t get along with, but sometimes, if you just have hope in people, you’ll find that they’ll find hope in you, and also in themselves.  Baby steps here, but just think of the bigger picture of hope.

So we talked about Love, we just hit on Hope…now onto Faith.  Faith, well, in short?  Right now, in my opinion, my definition of Faith is…Prove It.  If you believe in Jesus and you have faith that you can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you, and if you truly want to do all those things you want to do in this world…then Prove It…even if you have to start with baby steps.

James 2:17  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

In other words, faith without works…is dead.  Yes, folks…the very foundation verse upon which my entire blog is built on.  Cool, huh?  Well, I thought so…Hey!  Maybe today will be the day I’m discovered!  Perhaps by Richard Gere, who was just on a 9/11 tribute concert on V-H1, making a speech that got booed because he was trying to convince the crowd that “Love” is the way.  Now everyone is going to think my post is based on that…and once again, steal my mojo…just like they did in high school with Bohemian Rhapsody.  (story for a different time)

So, it’s not going to be easy, brothers and sisters.  A loss is never easy, especially one that is so devastating in circumstances, sudden, and historic.  It’s not easy to deal with in the limelight for those unfortunate ones who got placed there because of another human being’s lack of three basic principle’s, the greatest which, is Love.  But history, personal and historic, has shown us that the sooner we let things settle and just fall back into place the best they can given new conditions, the more we communicate with each other to reach a better understanding with each other, both inside and outside our circles, the more we stand united WITH each other instead of AGAINST each other, and the higher you stand when it’s time to dust off and move on toward what everyone in this world is truly fighting for, at least I hope it is, and that’s love, and the peace that comforts me within it. 

If you’re having trouble getting on your feet, just remember, if you’re on you’re already on your knees…you’re halfway there.  Just keep praying, my brothers and sisters, God’s hand will reach down to you too…

~Dear Lord, I pray that you look over each and every one of your children as we go through these times of great struggle in this world.  We all are sinners in your eyes, and none of us are perfect, but you, Lord Jesus, as our savior, promised us a place in Heaven with you and I want nothing more than to be there with you and those I love and have lost, and therefore, will do all in my power to do your works and follow your guidance so that I may see myself deserving of that place.  Please guide my wife, daughter, family and friends, brothers and sisters to continue to follow, or to find, their light, so that they may have their place as well.  Lord, please watch over all of us in our health and happiness, trials and travels this week, and please find a way to help Toby somehow so that nobody has to hurt too much just yet…I just think that now is not the time, but, Father, you know best.  In your most precious 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~

Roll to Me…nah….Him

So we’ve tried very hard in our family to make it a habit to have family meals around the dinner table at least a few times a week.  We used to do it all the time, a few years ago, when it was just the three of us, my wife, daughter and myself.  But for many reasons, over the last year, even with a larger family unit, we haven’t shared dinner around the table quite as much as we used to, and should have.

We’ve taken in extra teenagers into our home to help them with their needs, not that they have special needs, but they have, or had, needs that were not able to be met in their home situation, so we took them in to help them out, get them the rest of the way through school, and hopefully give them the wings to fly.  And it’s been a blessing to have them in our lives…I can only hope we have been a blessing in theirs.

Unfortunately, sometimes having extra teenagers in the house, extra people, extra stress factors around your kids, and your own selves, when you and/or they might already have stress and/or anxiety issues to deal with, can become problematic.  And then at some point, when only two adults are in the house and the rest of the house is taken up by teens, those adults might tend to feel like they have lost their space and want to seek solitude and just make sure they keep an eye on the teens but not want to be around all the “thump-de-thump” from the speakers from whatever hip-hop video is pulled up on YouTube or the sound of machine guns killing zombies on the Playstation.  Regardless, our house became chaotic and we ran from it.

Now we are trying to pull back, not only our faith, but our family.  And while I’ve been on my journey for a couple weeks now, and my wife on her own, with her own struggles along the way, the hard part is trying to encourage our daughter to even see a path at all.  Usually, at the dinner table, I require that the television is off and there is no cell phone usage, but the last couple times, I’ve allowed the computer to be pulled up in the dining room so we can have some music playing in the back ground.  The other night, our daughter had her Pandora playlist up, which she was about to turn off, but I told her not to.  We said grace and just started to eat, however moments later, a song came up that was fun sounding, one that we all knew and liked, a song from the 90’s, I believe…just a fun sounding song.  We bopped our heads and sang along…and all I could think of was my mom saying “sing before dinner…cry before breakfast.”  Or maybe it was the other way around…I’m not sure, either way, I never understood the meaning of it anyway.  So we sat, ate, sang, enjoyed…but then my ears, and my wife’s, started hearing the song a completely different way…and our daughter started hearing it differently as well, and discussing it with us, and sharing with us about God.  So that sparked the idea for the song, which was not even in my playlist, but my daughter’s…and then the rest of the week sparked the ideas for making the video behind it.

Of course the week came with struggles…every single day seems to come with something that just isn’t easy to get through, or make a decision on, or something or someone that makes the day somewhat challenging just because of personality differences.  I can only think of one day that I had that was pretty much a perfect day, and that’s because I decided to make it that way…I listened to what was inside of me, screaming at me, telling me to do this to save myself from acts of stupidity, and I did it.  I actually brought my lounge outside to enjoy the day with my wife…not an easy task but, it wasn’t the entire lounge either so it wasn’t a large task.  Nonetheless…I gave that gift to myself…I showed mercy to myself, for my sake and probably the sake of others.

There’s a bigger picture to all of this, which I touched on a little last week, I believe.  It’s struggle.  It seems that no matter where we are in our journey, or how great we think things are in our life, or how well we think we are doing, there is always some sort of struggle…either in the little picture we call our life or in the big picture we call the world.  But no matter what picture we’re looking at, it effects us all, individually. 

The struggles of the world make it harder for each person to cope with the struggles they are going through in their own little world, and the harder it gets for that person to cope with their own personal struggles, the harder it is for them to care, and cope, with the bigger picture and struggles, to the point that the bigger picture gets pushed so far in the corner that it no longer matters as much to the individual.  But the problem is, it happens to so many individuals that all those individuals put together make up such a large mass of the population that it brings the world down.  Once the world starts failing, the mass of faith starts failing, then where do we go from there?  It’s almost like a rockstar situation….if a rockstar was on top once because of all his fans, but then the fans start criticizing too, and lose hope in his capabilities to produce quality albums, then he loses his fan base and next thing you know…he’s a has-been and nobody wants to talk about him and people get laughed at and blasted if they do talk about him.  It’s the same thing that’s happening now…so many people seem to have lost their faith in God because of disasters and things that are outside of their control, due to technologies and raping of the natural earth, and government is allowing us less an less freedom to talk about God, that people are turning their backs on their once favorite Rockstar. They’re not paying attention to themselves, what their inner-selves, what their OWN faith, values, morals, love is telling them to do.  They’re not looking around at their OWN world and their not really looking at the world around them, just accepting it and going with the flow because they feel like there’s nothing they can do about it.  But there is…everyone can do something.  It takes just one person to touch another…to touch another…to touch another….

In church today, Rev. Jim touched on Armageddon.  The Book of Revelations.  The book of doom and gloom and how everyone looks at it like a threat.  But he said something pretty cool, and that was, if we took the “h” out if threat, we could turn it into a “treat,” and that’s exactly how the book of Revelations should be read, as a treat, given to us as knowledge and preparation, armor.  It’s about how that generation turned into a degeneration of faith, the breakdown of spiritual principles by the Roman Empire by crushing Christian values, much like today where the Government is crushing Christian values by telling us that we can’t say God’s name in schools, even when it’s Pledge of Allegiance, what our country was founded on.  We’re even being told that we can’t use God’s name in prayers in funeral service at military services when our men and women fight and die for this country now.  We’re being told that it’s okay for men and women of this earth to judge other men and women for what they do to their own bodies and whom they love, and correct me if I’m wrong, but there is a power greater than any one on this earth that IS going to do that for us when the time comes.  We have allowed Government, men and woman, and ourselves, to let God get taken over…and that’s not cool. 

God knows and sees everything that everyone does, thinks, and feels.  He’s knows what we are charged with in our life and what we have to face and what we can and will have to handle, but if we don’t have faith…TRUST…in Him, then why should He be there for us in the end if we haven’t asked him to be?  Truly asked Him to be!  God has given us everything in our life, and will continue to do so, to compete and battle with all of our own daily struggles and to help fight against the bigger battles with Him as long as we don’t get so caught up in the negative drama of the soap operas of life’s reality shows.  The daily drama of our lives and other people’s lives that, ultimately, will bring us down in the end.  We have to keep focus on shining up the armor that God has provided for us to continue to learn and grow in our own spirituality so that we may help ourselves and help the world through Him….after all, He’s the one who made it, can’t we trust that He knows best how to help us help fix it? 

Like Rev. Jim always says…”there’s a power within me that’s greater than the condition before me.”  And I intend to use…through this blog and with this music…to capture anyone’s attention that I can…to spread the word, spread the tune…whatever it does…I’m doing what I can.  This is my armor and I’m shining it up and adding pieces to it as often as I can so that I can be prepared to serve Him and the world He created for me. 

How can you do it to?  So there’s a recovery plan…first you have to humble yourself before God, accept the fact that you have reached the point that you can’t do this yourself and you’re in the dark and He is your light.  Trust that He will show you the way and just follow Him.  And love….people, please…I beg of you, and trust me on this one, no matter who it is, what color they are, what gender they are, what gender they love, what nationality they are, what they look like, how old, how young, what their beliefs are….just love….because He does. 

And everyday, when you encounter that struggle…be it part of the big picture, or the little picture…right then…Roll to God.

God Bless….

Jesus Rocked The Jukebox…and somethin’ rocked the road I was walkin’

Holy Roller…Coaster, Batman!!

So this past week has been a wicked coaster ride.  It has been full of emotions that I have not felt either in a long time, have not wanted to feel in a long time, or have never felt before.  All of these things are, of course, both good and bad.

Let me back up a bit by saying that, before I posted Tuesday’s blog, I was going to post a blog about “staying the same” or “don’t change,” or whatever nifty title I could come up with that was going to reflect the steps in my life that I had taken, and the song that’s playing above (if you indeed pressed play) to the soundtrack of every step I’m taking in this journey.  Instead, a found a boulder in my path that I needed to work my way around, and a song stuck in my head that I whistled away while I worked until I could get my thoughts together for this Sunday’s testimony. So…what I wanted to tell you about was what I felt about people always wanting to feel like they wanted to be different than who or what they were. 

I can attest to this burden because I’m so incredibly guilty of it.  I’ve never been happy with myself, outside or inside…but I’m learning to be, trying desperately to become happy with who I am.  So God made me a female, I’ve never been happy about it…I’m not sure if it was nature or nurture that made it this way, but I will say this, I’ve never like dresses, never liked being a girl, and I’ve always thought I should have been a man, based both on physical attributes and most personality traits.  Because of those things, I was picked on all my life, getting called names because I was always a tomboy and always stronger than, even just regular, tomboyish girls.  My entire school career was hell based on masculinity alone, because I don’t think I’m a bad looking person and I look exactly the same now as I did then, except much thinner now.  Now, aside from looking masculine, I’ve always felt more masculine, which has always left me wanting to change my life completely to become a man.  In fact, I had started doing this in a small way, by simply changing my name to my self-picked (sorta) new masculine name…online that is, for all my peers to see.  But that’s a huge step.  That kind of stuff gets back to people who get’s back to people…ya know what I’m sayin’??

Well, on my plane ride home from re-salvation, “Stay The Same” came on my playlist, I listened, I decided it was true.  I will never have the money to ever get my chesticles taken off, and besides, I’m going to need them one day…I might want to try to have a child again one day, after all.  I have a working uterus, I AM a female…there is NO way around it, God did not screw this one up.  I am the personality that He gave me and for whatever reason I am who I am, I’ll be who I am.  I may not like it, I may have to learn to get used to it.  It may be one of those sacrifices, I don’t know yet…we’ll have to wait and see, but it is what it is, therefore, I changed my name back…and only one person noticed (aside from the dozens who noticed when I changed it the first time…what the heck?).  Thank you God for making me…at all.  I pray to learn to deal with the outside because, for the most part, on the inside, I think I’m a pretty cool person, so thank you off-setting that for me…amen.

So then things started getting rough around here.  It was like the music from my party was starting to bother the devil so he started getting riled up.  My heart was already in a sorrowful place, feeling a sense of sadness for the loss of Ryan Dunn, but then he started coming after me with my own weapons, that which I am supposed to use as strength to fight him off.  I posted “Love Says No”  not just for myself but mostly for others, to offer a beam of hope to those I love and anyone else out there who might have read it.  A tiny glimpse of hope at a moment when the shit is hitting the fan and you’re feeling like you’re being dragged down, even though at the moment, I wasn’t.  It wasn’t long after, however, that song came back around and was there for me, to carry me through the week.

When I vowed to not listen to the band HIM whilst trying to “find myself”, I strayed from the “finding myself” playlist and “And Love Said No” had found me, seems funny to me, that in one way or another, I still get carried safely through my rough times by Him or HIM. 

But after love said no, I realized just how much of a change in my life there had been.  While I still manage to screw up, big time even, my feelings with regards to my actions and reactions, even minor thoughts, all have much deeper meaning to them now.  I can’t even accidentally say “g-d dam—-t” without almost crying because of feeling guilty, and when I’ve done something even worse than that, I feel like I can’t even look up to the heavens, as if I can’t bear, as a child, to look up in shame to my Father.  You see, before, I felt as though, while I knew it was wrong to take the Lord’s name in vain, somehow I wouldn’t take too much heat for it because by the time anyone really taught me it was bad, it was already a habit of mine.  Like, it’s just the way I am and God made me this way so He’s okay with it….wrong, I’m not okay with settling for that.  I feel bad when I do things that I feel would offend Him, and that’s never happened to me before.  I’ve wanted a relationship with God in the past, I’ve looked for Him in the past…I used to sing this song at the top of my lungs in the basement when I got the soundtrack after the movie “Leap Of Faith” came out because I connect just that much with these words. 

And finally, after all these years of searching, reading, listening, hoping, flailing, and singing…there’s a change in my life.  Thank you, God.

I was running some errands with my wife when that song came on, she and I had already been talking about everything that was going on throughout the week and talking about faith.  I had started crying in the middle of the song but sang along softly towards the end.  The song ended before we reached our destination and the very next one that came on was “Set Me in Motion!” 

Yes!  The very first one I heard on my playlist as I started this journey.  So in case you didn’t see the first blog, or just might be a little too lazy to go look for it, here it is again.  Plus, since it’s my video, and I love sharing my work…of course I’ll put it up again.

****THIS IS NOT THE ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR THIS BLOG, ALTHOUGH IT IS THE SONG INTENDED.  THIS IS **NOT MY VIDEO******

We brought it back to the beginning, and I felt like God was telling me something.  Not only was he trying to tell me something about getting things back on track, but also that in order to progress, sometimes you have to take a few steps backwards. 

At this time in my life, in my journey rather, I almost feel like a small child.  Like I’ve just been given the greatest gift of all time and I want to play with it as much as possible…but I don’t have all the time in the world to play with it.  But I also don’t know everything about it because there are TONS of directions and I’m a slow reader and it’s hard for me to understand things sometimes.  And sometimes when others want to talk about it I get scared and want to hide it, because I’m protective of what little I do know of it right now. 

I sometimes wonder if, when I stepped out into the aisle of that church that day, God took part of me away and put it in storage and brought back a child to start over with, to teach things over to, to guide properly….there are things I once knew that I’ve forgotten that I can’t explain, except to explain, as my wife did, that in order to truly have a relationship with Him, I must truly be able to pray to him, not recite.  Now, I have been having problems with my memory lately, but…hmmm, I don’t know, this one is just a weeeeeeeee bit suspicious….

So I guess in order for me to continue this journey, I must return to the starting point, go back three spaces, do whatever it is I must do….but it will be interesting a second time around…I’ll have to keep my contacts clear…as if I were seeing through the eyes of innocence.  After all, church is soon, I have not yet received my message for the week or the lesson, I don’t know what’s in store…

Lord, thank you for the blessings of the week, those that we can see and those we can not.  Please be with all of us and all those who need your guidance in times of need, and please watch over us and our family and friends in our health and travels as we journey enthusiastically into a new week of spirituality, partake in opportunities to do your good works, and keep our own households safe, loved, and provided for.  In your most holy and precious name, I pray to you, Lord…Amen.