All The Way To Heaven

While it’s only been a little over a year since I started this blog, it seems like just as long since I’ve contributed to it.  My journey, full of spirit and joy, took one too many of a tumble and, for reasons that I both care not to, and can’t even explain, I couldn’t even think about standing up and moving forward, especially when it seemed my journey had led me backward.

Somehow, however, between there and here, I’ve managed to muster up enough energy to start to stand up, and at the very least, start dusting myself off, glancing at this mountainous journey ahead of me still, and still willing to entertain it.  Something still awaits me and if I know nothing else about myself at this point, I at least know that I’m curious and hopeful enough to check into it.  I may not have the best tools for the job, and I may not use the right tool for the job, but my heart is in the right place, and hopefully it will all be enough for God to love me.

So much happened on the way down the last time that I don’t even want to bother talking about all  of it.  I just know that there were probably plenty of opportunities for me to grab onto something as I slid, but I failed to notice.  Of course I failed to notice, I never noticed on the way up either.  On beautiful days I kept my eyes to the sky and just let my feet land where they may, not noticing my left or my right, and on dreary or stormy days I kept my eyes toward the ground, unable to see anything but where I was able to plant my feet.  I cheated myself out of half of the journey by not looking around and taking in the sights or moments.  All I was doing was moving.

I’m trying to do better now.  Some days are sunny, some are stormy, but there are still things to the left and the right that I can check out.  I can glance away from the heavens for a moment, I can try to turn off the other noises, and I can look at you, or us, or all of us.  I can tilt my head up from the ground and find the same.

Along most trails, there are marked areas for things to do, or best scenery, or something like that.  I’m trying to not keep passing them by just to get through the trail.  I don’t want to miss the point of everything, the beauty of it all, the reason behind it all, and the memories of it all.

I’ll get to where I’m going eventually, I may get lost, I may get to where I hope I wouldn’t be, either way, I will have gone knowing I made the best journey of it that I could, and that I blazed the trail with the best intentions.

~Dear Lord, what I ask of you today is for wisdom, to know when I’m taking my life and family for granted, and to know how to be the best me I can be, for the sake of myself, my family, and for all your people.  In your most precious name, I pray.  Amen~

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Drive

It’s been a week since my declaration to better my lifestyle in attempt to live a healthier physical, emotional, and spiritual lifestyle.

We actually did work out…and on New Year’s Day!  And we’ve worked out three days since, as planned, despite my ongoing cold.  I can’t say that I’ve done that great of a job at eating any healthier, but in a few days when we go shopping, our choices will get better.  I’ve limited myself to eight to ten cigarettes per day this last week as well.  I normally smoked nearly a pack a day, having usually about three, definitely one, left at the end of each night.  So far, I’ve done amazing with that commitment.

Yes, I used a post it note for that, but I also broke out my Scarface cigarette case and prepacked it each morning with eight cigarettes, taking the ninth out with me for the first one of the day.  I kept the rest of the pack in my dresser drawer, out of sight, out of mind.  The only thing I could see was that I had those amount of cigarettes in that case for the entire day, so I had to ration myself and make use of the “halfie” system.  And no, just because you’re up past midnight does not mean you get to start over.  As my wife put it, you don’t take from tomorrow to pay for today…or something like that!

I’ve read once through Corinthians and intend on reading through again, this time reading the study notes.  Wow…what a strict book!  I’m not quite sure what to make of it.  It’s something I’ll have to ponder on, I guess.

We finally got our back patio back this week.  It was held hostage by a love seat that has been waiting patiently to get over to it’s new house at my mama-in-law’s.  It finally got there and we’ve finally, since we moved in, have had the time to fix it up to make it more inviting for us to spend time out there, especially considering all of our different personalities.

Other than Thanking God most every morning and maintaining my eight to ten smokes a day plan, and of course my blog time, every other plan I had failed to take a good root this week.  I guess that’s what happens when we make plans…God laughs and says, “that’s not my plan for you…yet.”  I guess I still need to work on surrendering what I want and accept what just comes.

Which brings me to this song that has been haunting me, so I thought, for a few weeks.  I’m not sure why I’ve been avoiding it;  I actually like the song.  But I think yesterday when I surrendered my ears to the song the message finally came to me.

First of all, one of my most favorite things I’ve always loved to do was get in the car and drive, turn my music up, and just…drive.  Whatever was going on at the moment would somehow be handled within me after spending time in the car.  I would just get in and take off, giving little thought to direction, although I would maintain a certain perimeter around my home.  I didn’t see any reason for worrying anyone, so most of the time people would have an idea of where I went if I was going somewhere or around what area I would be in if I was just driving around.

Now, ironically, I no longer have a vehicle of my own.  I sold it about a month and a half ago because it was starting to require some repair that I wouldn’t be able to afford and I had to take the loss.  Yes, I was bitter.  But, the truck served it’s purpose!  It brought my family out to Arizona, to a city where I really don’t need a vehicle because if I don’t have access to our other one, there is a huge mass transit system.  Plus, I don’t have many places to go!  But that’s not the point.  The point, actually, has nothing to do with driving a vehicle at all!

Similar, perhaps…

When you get behind the wheel of a car and get out on the street, you only have control over very few things.  Your own personal environment is one of them, the turns you make are one of them, but the road you are traveling on and the drivers traveling around you are completely out of your control.  So while you’re in the car, you do your best to pay attention to everything, use your skill and knowledge to keep you safe, but in reality, there is nothing you can do about what is coming at you out of nowhere.  The best you can do is to listen to your music and stay alert and just drive without being hyper-conscious of everything.  That only takes more of your attention away from what’s happening around you and within you.  And you can’t plan for anything anyway…so just drive…you’ll get where you’re going.

The same is true with our days.  If we wake up with a plan of what we’re going to do, if it is anything outside of a routine, then we’re doing less than listening to what God has in store for us that day.  Hop in the car, rev the engine, turn your music on, and just listen.  Let God point you in the direction you’re supposed to be heading that day, after you’ve said your prayers, of which He already knows what you desire, and know that you both have a destination in mind.  Every day is a continuation of a lifetime road tip, on your way to Heaven, and every day may be a change of scenery or a detour because that’s what God has in store for us that day.  Just take the wheel and drive!

~Dear Lord Jesus…Please forgive me my indiscretions this week as I tried to my myself proud in an aim to start living my life with better choices and with better discipline.  Thank you for being a merciful God, that I may screw up and keep trying and know that my faith in you has a direct impact on your faith in me, and you, Lord, are the most faithful of all.  Thank you for all the blessings you shared with our family this week, Lord, we certainly felt comforted in your good graces and look forward to next week with more opportunities to better ourselves that we may better our service for you.  Please watch over my family’s travel this week, keep them all safe and at peace while on their journey to share in crossing the threshold of my wife’s son’s military life.  Lord I ask that you keep him and bless him throughout his service to this country and his service to you, Lord, and that you bring my family safely home to me.  Also, if it’s not too much to ask, if you could help my daughter and I have a good week and help us both work on what we need to work.  In your precious and holy name, I pray….Amen~

The Art of Finding Pride Through 2012

I had almost an entire post ready to go, and halfway through the day, I decided to scrap it and start over.  Why?  I wasn’t really feeling it.  I honestly hadn’t felt anything move me yet, and therefore, I was just babbling.  It was a summation of last year up to the moment when I started this blog, only because the story of the rest of the year after I started this blog is already fairly well told.

And besides…that’s so last year.

This is the time of year when everyone does their best to start anew, make a fresh start, come up with resolutions to become a better person in their eyes, and in order to do all of that, we have to let go of last year and embrace the next.

New years resolutions are pretty hard to keep, and a lot of them, for a lot of people, are the same.  Quit smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, save more money, insert most common resolution here.  Of course, I share those resolutions, but it’s not easy to just wake up on January 1st and not have a cigarette, make organic scrambled eggs with the whites only with a glass a fresh squeezed orange juice and a piece of dry organic toast before proceeding to the gym to step on the eliptical to climb to your out of shape doom.

Sometimes, starting anew takes practice and discipline.  Sometimes we even have to take it back to basics.  I remembered a time when I was working for a call center that required me to take a survey at the end of each customer service call, of which we had a minimum amount of surveys that we had to accumulate throughout the month.  I had quite a bit of trouble wracking up the amount of surveys I needed, in fact, I even got a write-up for it, so I came up with an idea to help me.  I took some post it notes and cut up the amount that I needed to clear, plus a few extra, and posted them to the side of my computer monitor just as a reminder to ask for the survey, as I would surely be looking at the monitor throughout the phone call.  It worked!  Within the first two weeks, all the post-its were off my monitor and I had all the surveys I needed.  Unfortunately, I lacked the discipline to keep asking once I no longer saw the post-it tabs.  So when the stats came out that month, and my memory had failed to remind me, as well, that the amount of surveys needed had been raised by ten, I was informed that I was under by six.  Blasted!  I lost my job!

So what am I saying?  I’m saying I’m going to try again with the post-it notes.  I can’t make plans for the entire year, but I can make a goal for each day that will help me accomplish my ultimate goal of a healthy, happy, fulfilled lifestyle…spiritually, emotionally, romantically, and physically.

Do I need to put a post-it note up beside my bedside to remind me to thank God first thing when I open my eyes every morning?  Yes, I do.  Sometimes, the thought escapes me until I wake up a little more and have already moved around for a while.  I want that to change.  If it’s a day that I’m supposed to work out, do I need a post-it to remind me to do it?  Yes, to get my mind ready to go, and to start training myself that there are certain days that I’m just going to go do it.  How about a post-it to make a random phone call to someone I haven’t talked to in a while, or write a letter?  Yep.  And I can’t forget a post-it to remind myself that there is time for reading the Bible, and learning that song on the guitar, and “me time” to do whatever I want.  Maybe I can even come up with a post-it note system for snacks!  It’ll work…but, I just don’t have the post-its yet, they are still at the Dollar Tree.

The point is this, the easiest way to learn something, is by taking notes, reading over them, studying them, applying them.  Sometimes just seeing the idea/task there in front of you, over and over again, will help with the discipline.  Sooner or later, you won’t need the notes because you will be living the lifestyle you studied for. 

The important thing is trying to live each day in a way that leaves you feeling proud.  Is it good to feel proud of yourself?  Yes!  Because when you’ve lived a good and righteous day, then our Heavenly Father is proud of you, and that’s an awesome feeling to go to bed with at night.

I can’t believe 2012 is already here.  2011 flew by on us, and it was a crazy trip, full of many moments I can feel proud of, some moments I’m less than proud.  Now I find myself on the first day of a year that people think the world is going to end, and with everything I’ve seen, I wouldn’t be surprised.  And if it’s true, then again, I pray that I find myself amidst the multitude, along with my family, that find themselves walking through the gates of Heaven.  Either way, I want to live 2012 proud.

I have a lot to work on.  There are circumstances within me and surrounding me that I’ll be taking on, praying for, reminding myself everyday to surrender.  Most things I am hopeful for and know I will become a better GodsRockChild for.  Other things are beyond me, of which I can only keep praying for and about, and work through.

But it’s all good.  God’s got this.  God bless you all and Love it forward! 

Happy New year!

~Dear Lord, my undying gratitude goes out for your unending blessings toward our family, for watching over our travels, our health, and even our finances.  Thank you for all the family and friends that you have put in our path, to join in fellowship to glorify you.  Lord, your greatness and mercy is a gift that no man or woman can match, but to be able to praise you each day, Lord, is a blessing in itself.  Please continue to watch over our family and friends, our travels and health, wrapping your Fatherly arms around us, giving us that sense of safety, comfort, stability, knowing that you, Our Lord and Savior, are watching over us and have a place for us, with you, in Heaven.  Please bless our upcoming year, that we may find peace and joy.  In your glorious name, I pray.  Amen~

The 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~

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~