Privilege to Know


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“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” -Albert Einstein

The gifts we have are “in my opinion” to help others overcome what they struggle with without enabling them. If we all become selfish with what we have to offer society and our community the separation between “the classes” will continue to grow.

Is one life worth more than another?
Think about it.

Today as I drove home with $30 worth of tacos I saw an older man walking down the street, snot dripping off his nose and ears as red as a new spring flower… It broke my heart to see!

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”.
1 Peter 4:10

What is his story?
Where does he live?
Does he have a wife?
Children?
ANYONE to share his life with??
Where was he going?
Where was he coming from?

What if that “great” job you have today is gone tomorrow? How many of us are only a few months or even weeks without a paycheck from living out of our cars? Is my life worth more than the man by the highway begging for change? I do not feel any better about myself living in my own home, driving a car I own and providing for my family if I can’t bless others somehow.

I am blessed to have the means to provide for our family. My life is a gift that I should be thankful for not horde like the last slice of bread in the bakery.

I want to lead as an example of what a man, father and husband should represent. To be humble, gracious and full of love are aspersions to achieve not to be rich, powerful and feared. My life on cruise control will only maintain my life exactly where I am as a man today, I want to be a blessing to others through my life.

Flux


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The nature of life is constant change. The world is not the same today as it was yesterday and it will be different still tomorrow. We can be victims of that change, or we can proactively drive change. The way of success: Visualize the end result, Plan, Take action, Persevere, Re-plan, Take action, Persevere…..

This a great way to do anything in life from marriage to raising children. Nothing in life will stay without change for long, life itself is in a constant Flux

Adapt but do not give in, brush off your knees, pick yourself up off the floor and re-set your sights on your goals in life, learn from what has happened and always remember to give it one more shot, take the painful steps of change and push through…

Last night we had a conversation with our oldest daughter about the importance of healthy relationships, I figure I should share with her what I myself am learning. I imagined what my teen years could have been if I would have heard some of this when I was younger. Now I know she knows everything already being a teen and all, so if she heard a fraction of what we said it would be worth it. So during our conversation I saw the gears turning and that was all I needed to see to know that she has opened her heart to what we were explaining to her. We explained the importance of surrounding herself with good influences and people that care about their own future as well as hers. So now the journey has begins for her to enter the chapter of life where the decisions she makes will change the course of her life.

As a young boy I never really grasped the fact that there will be people that do not like me and now as I am in my mid 30’s I am learning that there is a balance and that not everyone has to like you. “Yea, I’m a slow learner”. Now what this lead to as a teen was lots of succumbing to peer pressure and never really knowing what made me happy. I had my work cut out for me trying to please everyone else to maintain a friendship with them. Some of my overcompensating selflessness was due to the fact that we moved around yearly and it made making new friends quickly a necessity of survival. Now as an adult that has not moved in 11 year and have been at the same job for 15 years I still have a hard time when I think that someone may not like me.

Looking back to some of the things I thought I could never overcome those hardships have been some of the greatest changes to my soul and heart. My life’s path and road I am now traveling has been change by the hard choices I have overcame in my life. When you think to yourself “I can’t handle this” or feel like giving up find the strength to push harder. Find the strength in what touches your heart, find it in family, friends, listen for it in music, create it on art seek it in faith and fight to never look back.

If and when you do, because you may, only look back to see what you have overcome, keep your eyes and heart set on where you are heading. What you have experienced in your past is not who you are or who you will become, I am proof that great things grow from nothing….

You can do it!

The Climb


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Over the last 4 days I have felt a desire to push through the failures in my life and remove the hold they have on my life. I AM what I think I am, and the journey continues to change what I think of myself. Positive thoughts and quick responses to my weakness with my anger and self destructive actions.

I am a powerful influence to those around me, at work, at home, at the gym, wherever I go I need to hold myself higher and represent the overcoming of my failures as a representation of the change in my life.

2 Corinthians 12:8-9, 11-12 NIV

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the “super-apostles,” even though I am nothing. I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.

I think I pleaded a bit more than 3 times, and continue to plead “please take it away”…

I miss the point, it would be like me going to the gym and asking the guy on the bench next to me to lift for me so I can become stronger. My journey is designed to make or break me and through my ups and downs I learn and am refined into a better me.

I will push, I will climb and I will fight like my life depends on it because in a way it does. My future has many more ups and downs as well as new vices that I haven’t experienced yet.

About a month ago I began a journey to break down my body to rebuild as a much stronger and healthy me by body building. It is only fitting I take the same amount of energy and determination to change who I am on the inside… So as I climb these floors I will seek His face through the word and allow my heart and mind to become healthy.

Fight the good fight, push through what you think “I will never make it through”. There is a prize on the other side..

YOLO Live it up


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I have been given a great opportunity to be surrounded and in community with some amazing men over the last day and night. The power of a room full of men that love their families, children, wives and God is pure inspiration to my mind and to my heart. YOLO (you only live once) is a huge term in our youth today and I agree Yolo, live it up…

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Unfortunately the meanings I have in my mind and the meanings of our children couldn’t be more polar opposite.

Sitting shoulder to shoulder with 30 to 40 other men. Football players, hunters, fathers and brothers, all strong men. A bit of intimidation begins to set in as I am hold back emotion because it’s not acceptable to show emotion as a man, “Words from the world we live in” be strong, be a man, dominant and powerful.

Men don’t cry, men don’t show fear, men don’t question the destination of their lives they make life what it is. As a man the message from the world is to have it all together as leaders, we do not need to follow.

Tears begin to fill my eyes as I hear the message from an amazing speaker, “the world will squeeze you, the world will tease you and then the world will seize you” blessings of the world.

If you know me you know the level of energy I have for life (in any direction positive or negative), I’m going for it. With that said my mind spins, my mind travels into areas that others may never think about.

Example: what happened to the humans that died before having the option to be saved by the death of Jesus? Did they simply get into heaven by default? Did they go to Hell?

Back to my content….
Knowing my struggles with my mind and my heart it was made clear this weekend how my mind, body and heart can make or break me.

Grace is receiving what is not deserved. When we sin, receiving forgiveness is not deserved. 

Mercy is not receiving what is deserved. In sin there is death and we all sin so receiving mercy is to not be punished for our sin.

There is the difference! The Yolo attitude of our children is to believe and think they deserve the world and do nothing to little to advance in it.

The mind receives everything we see, hear, smell, taste and feel and sends all the information to the heart after processing through your personal filter. The heart places an emotion on what is sent and the action has already begun.

Thinking awakens emotion and affection for what we are thinking about. Think about being sad and you have set in motion the option to become sad. Yes life has hard times and pain that is where the separation begins.

What will you seek?
What will you fill your mind with?
What you seek with your mind you will show with your heart and actions.

Personally when I think of YOLO I think of being the father that our daughters can come to when they have their heart broken by a boy or the kind of husband that my wife can come to for rest and peace in her heart because she knows and trusts where my heart is as a man of God.

Stronger Together


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Without forgiveness there can be no second chances and without second chances there can be no baseline for self improvement.

Learning what works and  what does not work takes failures, successes, overcoming obstacles and understanding shortcomings. Surround yourself with people that will allow you to fail and still remain in relationship with them through it. That is where true self discovery is best learned, it is learned in community with others that genuinely care for you.

Isolation is good in moderation to process the developments that are currently be made. Isolation is a way to further our development yet  can also create a space to “miss the mark”. If you surround yourself with those who do not care or are toxic to you there will be less learning and an increase in the chance of the decline of who you are and who you think you are and eventually the relationship will end leaving more of a negative impact in your development then a positive.

Using a marriage as an example, it is a very unique relationship unlike any other and because of how deep the relationship goes for both into friendship, intimacy and our sexuality and if neglected it can tear down who you are. It can also build up who you are and being a support system for one another is a key role to the healthy development of the relationship. I know where I fail some of the time and others I am totally blind to the way I act, so being honest when a mark is missed is very important as well as open communication about the act.

Have you ever heard the saying “Alone we are strong, together we are stronger” that is “I believe” the basis of what God has intended for our lives. I am strong enough to live my own life alone and with community, my family and marriage I am strong enough to help others live and to have a foundation based on the words He has provided.

To learn what works and what does not in life will in most cases take our entire life to learn.

“You are in charge of your life.
The people you interact with every day are mostly focused
on their own fears and needs,
and generally don’t make the extra effort to be kind to you.
Forgive them, and take responsibility
for creating your own life as your masterwork”.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

Forgiveness and second chances are a necessity to live and continue to grow in our own lives. Learning to forgive and give second chances is a blessing to allow someone else to grow.

Love deep, forgive often and hold one another up when they fall, it’s not if they fall it’s when they fall.

Get Up


Plans to grow, plans to change, plans to develop, plans to mend, plans to learn, plans to lead…

Plans are nothing without action and action is nothing without directions. You wouldn’t pack up and tell your wife and kids get into the truck and say “we are going on vacation” only to have no idea where the general destination is would you? Then why is it we go through life without a purpose or any direction.

I have goals and dreams and a path on how to get there. Yes life has a way of throwing obstacles in our way, don’t let that stop you. Continue on and reset your sights on your goal and carry on.

My entire life is worth nothing if I sit stagnant and do not get up one more time. I have had my share of hard times in my life and I could have given up hundreds of times, I choose to get up one more time. I have seen divorce tear apart family after family and I have seen death take the ones we love too early, I choose to get up one more time. I have seen the ones who said “I will never leave you” walk out of my life, I choose to get up one more time. I have been told “you are so special to me” only to fall along the wayside to someone else, I choose to get up one more time.

Living can either break you or create a stronger you, the choice is yours as to how you will end up. my dream is to be the best father, friend and husband I can be regardless of the circumstances I am faced with. I choose to get up one more time.

Whatever you choose do it to the best of your abilities and when it seems too hard push harder. I choose to love the amazing woman I am blessed to call wife regardless of if I believe she is worthy or not. She was given to me to help until death separates us. Flip the coin, am I worthy of her love? Am I worthy of her calling me husband? It is my goal to be everything I can be for her and our daughters. To give my all for whatever choose to give energy to. I was not created to be a simple man, I was created to be a great man.

Ecclesiastes 9:9-10 NIV

Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom

Pursuit of Romance


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Tomorrow is dreaded by some as the day all men will be held to a standard by society to meet a romantic expectation. It is a romantic day to me and I do love Valentine’s Day, it sets a dedicated day every year to set aside time to spread love to our loved ones. The issue with it to me is what should be done the other 364 day in the year.

I heard a quote “if you want to have something you have never had before then you have to be willing to do things you have never done before”. With that said most days can be a chance to attempt to do what has never been done before. Personally I want my wife and children to know the other 364 days that they are loved by me. Like anything there has to be a balance and a dedicated time to help the expression of the love that you are trying to share be affective. It’s probably not the best idea to wake your spouse up early on their day off to express the love you have for them if they love to sleep in. Looking at the big picture I have never had children other than our two daughters and never been married to anyone other than my wife so in a way we are blazing a new trail. I am up for the challenge of setting a course in life that I have not experienced.

I am especially excited for tomorrow as a day spent together with our children and to actually do nothing. A day dedicated to resting and hanging out together, eating great food, watching movies and eating popcorn and not even taking one stop out of the front door of our house. Life has a way of becoming too busy to even share a moment of genuine love with one another and that is far too busy.

Tomorrow represents a new day to show someone that you care about just how much you love them. Find out what speaks to them not what you “think” they enjoy. For years I bought my wife roses on Valentine’s Day only to find out she hates roses… Yes she accepted them with love but imagine if I would have known then what I know about her. After 16 years together I am still learning what she likes and dislikes and I hope that never ends, that is the pursuit of romance. To continually learn about the ones you love and to learn to meet them as they grow and develop.

Enemy of Peace


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How much time is spent thinking about what is coming next, what may happen in life or how to avoid a situation?

How much pain have the thoughts caused us, how long did we spend thinking of the “what if’s”?

How much time was wasted on the fear of the unknown and the time dwelling on the evils that never happened?

When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed “I had a lot of trouble in my life, most of which had never happened”.

Learning to live in the now is hard and learning to not let my mind wander into tomorrow, next week, a month from now is even harder and as far as I have come on my journey to living in the now is worth every second I don’t spend wasted on thinking about what could happen tomorrow.

What do you fear?

Deep down we all have them and most of the time it comes out as a different response. Some people tend to get aggressive others get quiet. No matter what your response to fear it’s safe to say that most of us fail at expressing our true emotions. As for myself I get quiet and withdrawn from the situation, most of the time to process what is going on, or what “I think” is going on and most of the time that is where it gets messy. In my “processing” I fabricate what I think is happening and react out of what my mind has created and not from the facts.

Fear has many other names and faces such as terror, dread, fright, panic, trepidation and apprehension and with all of them one thing is true, if you add truth to the situation and respond in love fear has nothing to live off of. Fear is a warped representation of how we see something or how something is perceived because of how we have experienced something in the past or how we are expecting it to be in the future.

For instance if you have came home every day at 4:00pm and greeted by your spouse  and one day you decide to come home at 5:00pm without a call, within a short amount of time and of not arriving as usual a bit of fear may set in, our mind will start to fabricate scenarios and this is the beginning of fear.

Misunderstanding arising from ignorance and breeds fear, and fear remains the greatest Enemy of Peace. – Lester B. Pearson

Learning to not overreact and fight the fabrication of the unknown is a skill that must be developed over time and is worth learning. You just may begin to live after you learn to let go what could be.

Unplugged


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As I sit in my chair stirring and trying to separate myself from the device I hold in my hand I see the grasp it has on my life and the inability I have to let it go. Thinking to myself over and over “Set it down, find something else to do”, maybe Pandora or something on Netflix, I could start a book, maybe I could study the word more…

My mind is filled with the “what can I do about this and how to change from wasting time when the basic function of my phone is necessity for communication” and after thinking of all the other things I need to get done I am still drawn to my phone like a bug to a bug zapper.

I decide a bit of music sounds great so I turn Pandora on the stereo, not a moment wasted as I grab my phone again only to see nothing new in the news feeds and no comments on my posts. What to do, what to do? So it’s off to the app store to look for a new game or app to fill my “free time” like someone addicted to drugs I begin searching for a something new, a new game, something to fill this place of the nothing that I dread.

Here I am supposed to be an example for our children and I lack the skills to separate from electronics, how can I be ok with this? I have become a sad example of what a father should be and one that is addicted to his phone none the less. I’m not saying I’m not a good father, only that I have become weak and allowed myself to be numb to things around me once again and my first response is to reach for my phone.

I have been trying to separate myself from electronics for a while now only to fail like yesterdays diet. I ask my girls to do something I cannot and get angry that they are resistant to my request. I tell them do their chores and homework before electronics and not sticking to my rules because of the lack of discipline I have for myself with electronics, how can I expect something of them that I am not willing to do.

After today’s meeting I get to my desk and open my email and there it is an article about being board. I myself have no use for being board, or do I? Maybe the downtime is needed to allow my mind to rest and reset, maybe it is needed to dedicate time to look inside and not be blinded by what is going on around me in the world.

I am planning on taking this to the next step, not sure what that is or what that will look like but I know it is needed to be the best husband and father I can be. Seeing and knowing a change is needed in order to allow the necessary growth that has begun to shape my life. This separation is needed to insure the growth of our family as a united family and not a family drawn to the drama and dysfunction that surrounds us in the world and to have common goals about life.

Today is a new day and the choice to reach for my phone has been made clear it is an addiction.

The time has come again to break the cycle of addictions in my life and I chose to begin with the separation of social media and time filling apps.

“Begin with your own inner peace. Then use that inner peace as a platform from which to approach the outer world with perspective, understanding, and patience”. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I have been hiding my inner peace by keeping my mind and body busy. I would like to find downtime, rest and time to use my mind to reach peace in my life. I will choose to spend time with my family, I will choose to look inside and to heal instead of hide and I will choose to be present as a husband and father. My family deserves what I can offer and I deserve what they have to offer me.

Please watch this heart wrenching video created by my talented friend Jerry Towery. This is an example of what we are faced with on a daily basis with our technology and today marks a new beginning for me.