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~

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The Gospel of Learning

I just finished The Book of Job for the second time, including the study commentary, and whilst thoroughly loving the book, I learned that… I should just not question much of anything.  Nobody really has the answer and the one who has the wisdom, knowledge, and Truth to answer doesn’t seem to appreciate being questioned.  Besides, we are all part of a more divine purpose anyway…life, being alive, is like going through an “earthly bootcamp,” if you will.

Through all the trials and obstacles, we seem to want to question all that is before us, from the food to the ranks, but if we lean on our rock of faith and accept that God knows what He’s doing, in both good times and bad, then, not only will justice, in due time, prevail, but we might just be able to relax and live out our time here in a joyful, more meaningful way.

The idea of our lives being more joyful and meaningful comes from Ecclesiastes, which I’m now reading because Job led me to it.  Ecclesiastes, when translated, means “teacher,” and when I learned that, I was even more excited to go through the book, especially when considering the entire theme… most everything being “meaningless.”

If we’re not doing it for God, to glorify Him, being respectful of His order of things, respecting His commandments, doing whatever it is we’re doing from Love, then it’s all meaningless.  Even the work that people put in, get money from, then spend on everything from bills to pills is meaningless unless it’s somehow spent because of your Love for God.  The parties that people have from Superbowl to “just because it’s Friday” are meaningless parties because they are feasting for the wrong reasons, having nothing to do with The Lord.

Well, it’s tough being one of God’s creatures, especially of the Human species, one given free will and a brain like ours, always seeking out gratification, knowledge, wisdom, joy, power, and many other powerful nouns that everyone wants to have the greatest possession of. But we forget, or ignore the fact that we will never be capable of having the ultimate “any of those” nouns because it’s all for God to possess and for us Trust in Him to disperse justly, even if we may not see it that way through our less wise and knowledgeable eyes.  And by the constant pursuit of these nouns, we lose ourselves somehow…so we all have to be careful in our pursuits, that they are not “chasing after the wind” and we don’t lose who we are in it.  And besides, who are we to question all of it…and risk God questioning us why WE are question HIM??  Ha! 

How about we stay read up, stay prayed up, take care of our families, take care of our neighbors, do what we can to get through those hard times, shine through the good times, glorify God through both times, live and let whatever is going to happen…happen.  Anything else is going to be more stressful, trust me…I’m trying to change me from being that way!

And trying to change is not an easy thing for humans to do either, which is why it’s so important to learn and maintain the proper beatitudes from an early age.  Thankfully, I had finished reading Matthew before I read Job, which is an excellent road map for a godly existence on Earth, so I was easily reminded of what kind of alterations I needed, along with a few critiques from others…some solicited, some not.

**So I just got word that my video is not working, not that it was much of a video, just needed to get the song on here, but, alas, YouTube has shut my efforts down again.  If you get a chance, look for the song “Change Me On The Inside” by Brian Doerksen.  You won’t find it on YouTube, by the way…Sorry Everyone**

****UPDATE!! AFTER ALL THIS TIME, IT SEEMS THE SONG IS POPULAR ENOUGH TO BE ON YOUTUBE IN AN EASY SEARCH.  AND WHILE THIS IS !!!NOT MY VIDEO!!!, I’M SHOWING THIS PARTICULAR ONE BECAUSE OF IT’S REMARKABLE RESEMBLANCE TO MY ORIGINAL, AND I TOTALLY DIG THAT!****

Ecclesiastes 1:18

For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;
   the more knowledge, the more grief.

~Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing me home safely to my family this week, after having provided me some time to spend with my mother over her birthday and during these chaotic times.  Please continue to watch over my family and me, our safety in health and travels over this next week, especially with my mother’s procedure tomorrow.  Thank you for all of your tiny blessings, we look forward to receiving your blessings and look forward to moments when we can spread the message of your blessings and Love.  Please help all of our hearts be in the places they need to be and our minds where they need to be to be able to truly serve you and Love you as we should, that we may live a joyful and peaceful life here on your Earth, and that we may find ourselves worthy of your Heaven.  In your most Precious and Holy name, I pray.  Amen~

The Gospel of Chaos 1:1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

venus_women_symbol_decor-e1388197881290

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

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

Thank God For Sunday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Love Is Alive (Even though I feel half dead)

This week’s video is a simple one, folks.  Unfortunately, my time constraints with getting my last video worked out and able to play, and a busy schedule this week kept me from putting a lot of time into this one.  However, it did not keep me from putting in my full effort, thought, heart, and most of all, love of God behind it.  Enjoy.

Barbara Payton – My Love Is Alive (Detroit Native)

****AGAIN, AND MY APOLOGIES, BUT THIS IS A HOMEMADE VIDEO AND NO LONGER ACCESSIBLE VIA YOUTUBE, AND I’VE STILL BEEN UNABLE TO FIGURE A WAY TO UPLOAD DIRECTLY.  IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO CHECK OUT THE ARTIST THOUGH, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT****

I’m sitting here on my back porch, Saturday night, twenty minutes until ten, having just finished up the final touches on a very simple video for this week, smoking a cigarette to keep the skeeters away (if you’ll believe that), and exhausted as heck.  It was another yard sale day, trying to sell off some more stuff that we aren’t taking with us to Arizona in 16 days in an attempt to raise more travel expense money and moving cost money.  Today wasn’t as great as last weeks sale, but it was still a blessed day. 

All except for that phone call we got from our mechanic that we took my wife’s truck to so we could get the brakes fixed.  He’s a good guy…we trust him.  We had to get her brakes fixed because they were squeaking really bad and he gave us a good price, plus we have to take my truck in because there’s a rattle and I’m pretty sure I need brakes as well.  Considering we are driving across the country in 16 days, we’re going to need our vehicles in tip-top shape. 

Well, the mechanic called and told us it wasn’t the brakes, and what the actual problem is will cost us almost three hundred dollars more than what we had planned.  Major wrench in the operation, especially considering we haven’t even gotten my truck in yet, which I know is going to be the undertaking.  So…on to a whole new set of prayers…  🙂

I’ve been having more doctor appointments this week, trying to settle things up here before I head out of state.  So far, they say my heart looks good but I just need to watch my anxiety levels, as they may be associated with some of the symptoms I’m feeling.  Heh, and here I thought I was doing better.  I would say that I’m stressed because I’m 16 days away from moving (not like I’m counting), but these symptoms have been lasting longer than that.  I’m still awaiting results from an upper and lower GI procedure from Thursday and I have another procedure coming up next week.  If nothing is found, we’ll have to call it official….I’m absolutely crazy, lol.  So we’ve been praying a lot for health around here already, but we’ll keep those going, although I can fairly honestly say, I don’t think I feel half the anxiety I normally do considering all the circumstances going on right now.  Maybe it’s just not all registering….nah, I know what it is. 

I’m trusting that God hasn’t given us more than we can handle.  I’m not worrying about it because I’m praying about it.  I gave it to God and that’s the best I can do. 

Earlier in the week, actually, starting on Sunday, there was a big issue with the “Let’s Go Crazy” video from my last blog.  After I went through four days of making the video, which is actually a very short amount of time to make a video that was that “cool,” for lack of better term at the moment, I suddenly found that it was not able to be viewed due to copyright restrictions.  Ouch!  See, first of all, I have a YouTube page that I post all my videos to first because I, for some reason, can’t seem to upload any of my videos that I make directly to my posts on here.  It says I can…but I can’t.  Perhaps the wrong format, I don’t know.  Anyway, I’ve only run into this problem one other time before, but I ran into the problem again with this last video with the song “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince.  Apparently Warner Music Group really doesn’t like people using that song because in less than twenty-four hours of it being posted on my page, and after I had already published it to my blog, it was blocked for viewing. 

I panicked.  I was so proud of this video.  I love all the videos I make, especially since I can go back and look at the timeline of progress I’ve made in what I’ve learned to be able to do with them.  But there’s only a few of them that I am really psyched about!  And that video is one of them, and the fact that I couldn’t share it with anyone other than the people around me was driving me crazy.  I tried everything.  I couldn’t find the dispute form on YouTube that I had only found once before, I remade the video with a different song source…you know, trying to back-door the system thinking that they might not be able to “content id” a different source or something…didn’t work.  I uploaded it onto Facebook so at least just my friends could see…nope, they blocked me too! 

I started thinking bigger, I called my pastors at my church and asked them if I could show it at the church.  Well, they have the same problems….copyrights!  Gah! 

It all keeps coming back to Prayers and Patience it seems….okay.  Take a deep breath, that dispute form is somewhere.  We’ve prayed before to change the hearts of people who may not be giving us a fair shake before…sometimes it’s worked, sometimes not so much, what’s the harm?  Within minutes I found the dispute form, offered up my statement of good faith that I meant no harm, that the video was intended as inspirational, and submitted it.  I let it go and checked back the next day…well, it’s still up.  Thank you, God and people at YouTube and WMG.

So now the weekend comes to a close, it’s Saturday night.  Like I said, it’s been a long week.  My brother, sister-in-law, and nephews are in town…they have been all week, and were having a family get-together over at my other brother’s house tonight.  Unfortunately, because of such busy schedules, previous plans, and plain exhaustion, I wasn’t able to make the drive to go to the party.  We have tentative plans to see each other after church tomorrow, and I’m going to do my best to get out that way, but again…plans and time. 

I guess here is where I have to look to God to help me figure out what to do.  I have my parents telling me what I “should” do, because I’m 34 years old and that’s what every 34 year old has, their parents telling them what to do.  I “should” go, if at the very least to see my nephews…yes, this is true.  I should go to see them all, I love them all and I miss them.  They live far away and we don’t get to see each other much.  My struggle comes in with the part where I have so much going on and so little time and gas money to get it all done with.  My brother has been here for a week, and I don’t know where they have all been in that amount of time…it’s not my business to know or care, however, I know one day has been given to family to be able to see them.  Their schedule has always been a tight one and I find myself struggling to fit into it without it being an inconvenience to either side, and that’s the part that sucks about it. 

After church tomorrow, we are supposed to be finishing up this garage sale then hauling every last bit of garbage out of this house and garage so that nothing is left here except what is being moved.  It’s going to be another long and busy day, followed by another long and busy week that, as of right now, we’re not financially prepared for…yes, the truck. 

So now, I’m going to pray that at some point tomorrow, I’ll have a solid answer, followed up with love and not just obligation, that a good compromise will come up in order for my family and I to be able to get together.  I’ll also be praying for safety of all of our travels, guidance in all of our decisions, strength during our trials, and positive results during all health related concerns coming up this week.  Thank you, God, for all  your blessings, those big and those too subtle for our small minds to recognize.  My heart, soul and mind remain open to all that you have to offer, Lord, as I commit to offer all that I have to you, Lord.  Amen.

So church was this morning and the service was wonderful, as usual.  Rev talked about becoming “evolved people” in our spiritual journey.  He talked about how the patterns of thought and behavior in our lives can keep us from our spiritual destinies.  In other words…practice what we preach!  If we are believers and followers of Jesus, then do so with the commitment that we preach to others. 

He even gave us steps to help guide us!  Yes!  Directions!  Some of us aren’t very good at figuring things out on our own, especially in the beginning…so now we have guidelines.

1.  Figure out who you’re going to serve!  God or your Ego?  Are you going to get caught up in God or in the conditions that surround you?  Need help?  “The Lord is my shepherd….and that’s all that I want”

2.  Give thanks each day, each moment for what most people ordinarily take for granted.  Give thanks even in the midst of the storm because God is preparing you to elevate you to grow.  You’re thinking, “yeah…but…” right?  That’s what Rev. Jim said too.  Response?  “As long as you keep saying ‘yeah, but,’ your butt is going to be in your way!”

3.  Give to live until you live to give!  Turn you “me-ness” in to “we-ness.”  Giving comes in all different forms, doesn’t always have to be just money.  God has blessed everyone with gifts to pass on to everyone that can bless someone, and blessings come back from unexpected places, they don’t just ping back from the people in your own circle.  Remember the four T’s – Tithe of your Time, Talent, and Treasures.

4.  Know how to forgive!  Forgive ourselves.  Do not place guilt, blame or shame on yourself, it has no spiritual platform in your life to bounce you toward a higher ground, only hold you down.  Just admit you made a mistake, apologize, make amends, and move on.  If they can’t move on with you, then love from a distance.

5.  Celebrate life rather than view life as a problem to be solved.  We will always run into trials, but with Jesus as our savior, we can Trust that He can help guide us through all that we face, and through Him, celebrate all that we overcome and the people we have become because of His love.

6.  Understand the value of “down time.”  No, this does not mean be a couch potato every chance you get.  This means, take every opportunity you get to commit to meditation or whatever means necessary to further your spiritual journey.  Take time to get in touch with your spiritual self.  Every other religion is strict about it!  We can get a little more strict with ourselves about it too!  “Stay prayed up”  Don’t wait until the going gets tough to pray…just pray because…

7.  Let go and let God.  You’ve done all that you can do.  You’re a human being and you have limitations.  In the grand scheme of it all, God has the final plan, and it is His will and you are His faithful servant doing the best you can do according to what you honestly believe is His will for you.  So at the end of the day, after all your prayers, worries, heartaches, aggravations, etc…let go and let God.

Amen.  God bless!

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.