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~

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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.