Elusive Trust

Another excerpt from my latest book to tease you into reading further:

Trust is a difficult beast to master. For me, encumbered as I am with my baggage, it’s nearly impossible. While it is one of the cornerstones to a healthy relationship, it’s also the building block that’s most easily broken (and often the weakest to begin with).

Building trust is often exhausting and it may also be extremely painful to earn, and yet it can be shattered all too easily by ill-timed, unfounded or malicious gossip, misunderstandings, or purposeful attempts to cause strife in our lives. Sometimes for no other reason than for the sake of inducing drama for someone else’s personal entertainment. Marriages and friendships can be endangered from outside influences that should never be given a chance to gain a foothold.

As we spend time together as friends or spouses, we fight the vulnerabilities, the insecurities and the doubts that plague us in all other aspects of our lives. We learn to communicate (usually and hopefully) and bare our souls to one another–to trust that we can be free with each other without fear of harm or judgment. That trust is generally rewarded and reinforced over time when our forthrightness and honesty don’t bite us in the proverbial butts. When secrets are kept, weaknesses aren’t exploited and vulnerabilities not shared with outsiders.

We often put forth magnificent amounts of effort at coming to that understanding and proving our commitment to one another (some people more than others). Some people trust far too easily and are often burned in the process; some become hardened while still others refuse to be deterred by their experiences. Regardless of how easily we trust, it isn’t something to be taken lightly. And yet we seem all to willing to throw all that hard work away when something or someone comes along to play upon those vulnerabilities we thought we had overcome. Something or someone throws a specter of doubt into our overactive imaginations so that we can toss it around in our brains like a kitten with a ball of yarn, till we’re so entangled we can’t see beyond the mess. Are our relationships really so tenuous that a careless word, a misunderstood inference, or a purposeful misdirection from an outsider can destroy the trust and confidence that we’ve spent all that effort, years and tears to build? Are we willing to throw away friendships and endanger marriages because of misunderstandings? Because of personal baggage, biases and fears that we project onto others?

For the answer to those questions and more, read Love…Like You Mean It available in multiple formats at the top of my blog page.

Posted in Book, Decency, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why am I here?

We each have a different purpose on this earth and are each given different gifts. These are given so that we may glorify the Lord and go about his work. We are meant to spread the gospel in proper, worthwhile ways in order to be the aroma of Christ so that others might share in our joy.

Anytime I come across something while studying, reading or writing, I’m very aware that we must be very cautious to properly handle the word of God and be careful not to remove things from their proper context. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor 5:20. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19.

Nobody can say anything better than God already has. While I never want to distort His word or message, there are many in this world who may never open the Bible or go to church in order to hear that message. So I write. I write in a way that hopefully disarms those with a grudge against “religion.” I write in common words about common issues that affect us all. I write about how to deal with those issues and how to reframe our thoughts to better withstand the trials of this life and find our joy and contentment. I write because I want to use one of my gifts to highlight what others may be missing, are afraid to see, or may never see. I want others to see the love of God, the beauty that he has given us in this marvelous world, and the blessings that he showers upon us daily.

I want to attempt to spread His words of peace, love, patience and forgiveness through daily application and simple discussions about exercising morality and decency. I write my books and blogs not because I feel superior to anyone else, not because I feel smarter than anyone else, and certainly not because I’ve got “it” all figured out. I do what I do because it gets me into His Word. It helps me to center my own life around Him and to apply the words I share with others. It helps me to study and try to discover his will for me. I like to think that the words I write glorify God by spreading His message through application of biblical concepts while dealing with our everyday lives.

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life” John 6:39-40. God doesn’t want anyone to perish apart from his love. I was not raised in the church, but now that I have found my way here I can tell you it is glorious. It’s certainly something you don’t want to miss. His love gives purpose to our otherwise meaningless life (explained throughout the book of Ecclesiastes).

The hardest part about spreading His word is getting it to those who need it. My writing hopefully edifies believers, but in order to be most beneficial, we need to touch and relate to those outside of the church. Please help me to do that by passing along anything you think someone else needs to hear.

Thank you.

Posted in Decency, inspiration, Love, Morality, peace, priorities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prideful Ignorance

Pride is not only a sin, but the inevitable downfall of many. It’s strange how little you can actually know after years and years of formal education. Street smarts, although different, are also amazing…until they don’t cut it. There are so many things that we can still learn, even if we think we know it all.

Never be too prideful, to arrogant or to blind to see that we are never finished learning…there is always going to be someone smarter or more experienced. Keep an open heart and open ears in order to discover the answers to the questions you didn’t even know existed!

“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for the fool than for him.” Proverbs 26:12

Posted in inspiration, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Million Dollar Idea

Here I am traveling again. I really do prefer my trailer over the headaches of airplane travel which I previously mentioned, but there are still a few drawbacks. Most notably would the ridding of the refuse ritual, you know…emptying the septic tanks!

Rving is a multimillion dollar industry, enjoyed by those from the common Joe up to the headliner movie stars, but one common issue plagues us all…those septic tanks don’t empty themselves. So here’s my million dollar idea (feel free to implement, market and share the royalties with me)…a Porta-Juan!

Now this is about comedy and convenience folks, not racism, so pick a nationality that works for you! Porta-Sven, Porta-Mike, Porta-whoever, but the concept remains. It’s based on those “trunk monkey” ads run a few years back (if you don’t remember, they’re worth a Google). We have tons of storage space in our campers, so we simply save a nook for our Porta-Juan who jumps out when needed, does the dirty deed and slinks back into storage when complete. Come on, you know it’s a great idea–everyone wins! Britney Spears doesn’t have to touch that nasty stuff (like she would anyway!) and Porta-Pierre gets to see the country! It might begin to justify the million dollar price tags on some units, but we can bring it to the common man! Ingenuity, convenience, increased workforce…we just need some marketing!

Posted in humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hiking Defined!

My wife calls me a hiking snob. It’s not because of the gear I use (none), the clothes I wear (don’t get me wrong, I don’t hike naked, but I don’t look like I just walked out of the L.L. Bean catalog either!), or any other such thing. I’ve earned this title simply because of the (sometimes vague) criteria I use to consider a hike a hike. Walking is not hiking. Hiking is not walking. Hiking entails getting your shoes dirty, usually on dirt–not a paved or blacktopped path. Hiking involves shoes made for hiking. Hiking involves breaking a sweat and hopefully includes elevation changes. Hiking consists of a pace that would never be considered meandering or strolling. And possibly the most important aspect to hiking is the setting…deep in the woods, high on a mountain, around a lake, next to a stream–you get the idea. Urban hiking is a misnomer–there is no such thing. “Hiking” to the Starbucks in flip-flops with no pack or water bottle isn’t hiking!

Whether or not she believes it, I don’t really have many other hard and fast rules as to what actually constitutes a hike, but if you are on a real hike, you’ll know it! Now see, this is where my wife sometimes gets confused–walking around the lake or next to the stream is not necessarily hiking. The setting, while important, doesn’t overshadow the other necessary criteria. I enjoy sauntering along the mountain meadows, but no sweat, no hike. I like ambling up the paved path to see whatever sight is at the end, but no dirt, no hike. How can this be confusing? It’s as clear as the mud you should be cleaning off your calves once you’re finished with an actual hike.

Wherever the communication gap lies, I’m sure it’s not with me; but just to be sure, I think I’ll take a hike…or at least a long brisk walk out of arms reach!

Posted in humor, Marriage, relationship, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sin City

Las Vegas, NV. Termed sin city, and for generally good reasons, but is the city really at fault? Did all the evil and wrong-doing in America simply settle to one of the lowest geographical areas? Or do people there just let loose, assuming no one will judge them because the norm is indulgence and decadence? Is sin excused if everyone else is doing it? Does it not exist if no one judges it?

Sin is sin, wrong is wrong, and Las Vegas is simply a city, like any other. Most cities are awash in lost and misplaced priorities, but it isn’t the fault of the area, it’s the fault of the choices we make. If Lot could endure all that he did and still be the only righteous man in all of Sodom, I am certain that you can visit and enjoy Las Vegas with your dignity, virginity, sanity and Christian identity in tact.

Choices don’t stop at borders, doors and time zones, but their consequences do extend well past each of those things and more! What happens in Vegas is just as relevant as if it occurred anywhere else.

Posted in Decency, inspiration, Morality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Apologies

Disrespect runs rampant in today’s society. Since entitlement is the new catch phrase or lifestyle, people seem to think that rules, policies, and suggestions for peaceful coexistence simply shouldn’t apply to them. Examples surround us and saturate us throughout our daily lives, as I’m sure a few surfaced in your heads at the mere mention of the topic. But recently, one such example stood out for me in stark, sad reality.

The battleship Arizona Memorial located in Pearl Harbor stands as a solemn graveyard marking the site of ultimate sacrifice. That fateful day in December 1941 brought the death of 1,177 servicemen upon that ship alone. The memorial serves as the sunken cemetery for those who were never retrieved as well as a monument to this countries loss and fortitude. Visiting this memorial is a humbling, tear invoking experience that brings clearly to heart and mind the vague textbook lessons we learned in school. It stands a stark, vivid reminder of the tragic loss of life of fathers, brothers, sons.

In order to visit the memorial, a line forms in the early hours of the day for those hoping to obtain one of a limited number of tickets to board a Naval shuttle boat. If you were fortunate enough to obtain this ticket, you then proceed to a waiting area where a docent reviews that fateful day in history, its significance and the solemn nature of the memorial. With this he asks for respect for the setting. Since some people obviously don’t know what it means to be respectful anymore, he underscores the reverence of what we are there to see and attempts to impart that importance to the crowd. He then outlines two simple rules. Two. First, silence all cell phones and refrain from texting, phone calls and the such; Second, do not stop, pause, congregate or gather on the gangways to or from the boat shuttle–form a single line and walk.

With that in mind, we set off to see what we are there to see. Within minutes we arrive at the site of the wreckage, dock and disembark. Within seconds both rules are not ony broken, but shattered.

Throughout the tour of the monument, the docent’s requests amount to nothing; silent reverence is disturbed by laughter, selfies, running, playing, and enough electronic noise to fill a stadium. The docent’s lecture at the wall of names of those entombed is interrupted multiple times with ring tones, typing and telephone conversations. It was enough to confuse the tears of reverence with tears of disappointment in what we’ve become.

Memorials all around this country are, and should be, humbling experiences where thoughts of great men and women who have died for a good country are brought to the forefronts of our minds. It is a sad state of affairs that those same memorials highlight the lack of respect for ourselves and others that now defines this country and serves as an example of what we’ve become to not only our youth, but also to all the other countries around the world. I write this as a heartfelt apology to those who served, continue to serve and the families that love them.

Posted in Decency, Morality, priorities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gender Schmender!

I’m not sure why this country is up in arms over the transgender bathroom issue. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the issue at hand and have a problem with it myself. However, you’re assuming that just because there is a law in place people will actually abide by it.

I was in a busy airport restroom recently when a woman brazenly walked in and announced she was considering herself a boy today because her bathroom was closed. She then proceeded to wait within arms reach behind a line of men doing what they do in a restroom. (And just in case you ladies aren’t informed, we usually don’t get walls–or couches, potpourri, flowers, etc!) She made her statement in gest and obviously had no identity crisis–just the lack of motivation, dignity or respect to walk the 50 yards to the next restroom. She also wasn’t in a dire need or having a medical necessity, in case you were wondering. She was simply uncaring and blazé, assuming that no one would alert the authorities, which no one did.

I’m wondering how well this would have gone over with the gender roles reversed? If I had walked into and loitered in the woman’s bathroom? The first issue I would have had to deal with would be the concussion my wife would have provided for me, I’m sure! I’m guessing a beating (from someone I’m not married to) or a security person would have materialized within a minute or two, probably followed by formal charges and legal issues.

I have had medical necessity and yet still couldn’t have brought myself to break this particular law, especially in such a matter-of-fact manner. Who knows, maybe I’ve got it all wrong. Maybe it wouldn’t be an issue and may have even led to dating opportunities when I was single, who’s to say? What I do know is that laws and rules are for those that choose to obey them in the first place. Therefore, those individuals that obey the laws aren’t usually the ones in need of the laws. The rule breakers and scofflaws will do as they please, as they always have, regardless of how many more regulations are added to attempt to bolster morality and decency. By all means proceed with the law making, but don’t be surprised when people do whatever they want, as usual.

Posted in Decency, humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Travels!

Flying for a person with obsessive compulsive tendencies is a very trying matter. The fun begins at the TSA security line, but first let me give you a brief background so you can begin to understand the situation.

Because I have “issues,” there is a ritual that occurs each day before I am able to leave the house. I methodically pack specific pockets with cash (rarely, because I really hate cash–but I’m traveling here…best to be safe), lip balm, keys, wallet or whatever else I feel necessary to be equipped for the day. I then check and recheck those same pockets multiple times before I feel ready to leave the house. It’s a continual movement that makes me reminiscent of Peter Falk in the Colombo series–standing, rotating in circles, patting each pocket in order to assess that its contents haven’t magically disappeared since placement. I’m told it’s a bit comical to watch.

Well, now I’m standing in my socks at the front of an airport security line full of hostile people in a hurry, staring at me wondering what my “deal” is. My deal is that we are expected to strip ourselves nearly bare, emptying out those perfectly packed pockets and let our carefully itemized belongings out of our sight. Then, assuming the scanning machine hasn’t stolen, dropped, zapped or flagged anything, we’re left with the task of reinspecting each item as it emerges, just barely out of our reach. If I trust my eyes that everything is in order (sometimes you have to touch as well…just to be sure!), then starts the wonderful task of attempting to repack your pockets as they originally were, all while someone else is reaching over and around you, moving and touching your bins to make room for other ones rolling out, which are also touching yours. I urgently try to find the furthest nook, of which there is none, to stop people from getting near my stuff while I’m trying to repack and take inventory. Now I’m holding up the line, doing the Colombo dance, trying to check and recheck my pockets for the correct contents in the correct places. It’s all a bit maddening, especially when you consider that all of this, of course, occurs under the watchful and suspicious eyes of those with the ability to kick you out of the airport and make your immediate life miserable. Although hopefully comical for you to read and maybe for some of those around you in line to watch, it’s actually quite frustrating!

Once that debacle is past, you get to reflect upon the fact that, in truth, the security line wasn’t the first obstacle. After you reach your gate and/or finally get seated on the plane, you get to revisit the first issue encountered with flying….the intense pondering upon the whereabouts of the carefully packed luggage you were forced to surrender at the baggage counter. Did it make it onto the plane? Your plane? Was it mistaken for someone else’s? Was it inspected, opened, man-handled, spilled, lost, mangled, dropped…. The endless list of possibilities won’t stop running though your head until you are once again reunited with said luggage and able to open and inspect the contents. But before that, you have to contend with all the other people who want a piece of my luggage–the taxi, the bellhop…why can’t they just let me carry my own stuff? I don’t look that infirmed or bad for my age!

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy traveling very much, I just can’t stand the processes involved. It’s very taxing for someone with “issues”. Just a little food for thought the next time you’re upset at the slow guy holding up the line! We aren’t doing it on purpose, so please show a little compassion to those in need!

(And don’t get me started on the germs, recycled air, and unsanitized surfaces of the plane itself…trapped in a tin can with all these hacking, sneezing typhoid Mary’s. What fun!)

Posted in humor, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Predictable Me?

“You’re just like your mother!”

There are people in this world that don’t take that as an insult, but I’m not one of them. Likewise, I nearly broke my hand in several places while my mother berated me for being “just like my father.” He had left her and left me in his place.

To this day, it makes me bristle to hear that I am anything like either of them (though it’s unlikely someone would get the chance to make the comparison since I don’t often interact with them). I’m certainly not trying to be insulting or hurtful to my parents, but they made certain choices during my formative years that they either couldn’t or wouldn’t change. None of us can change our history, but we can deal with it. I’ve spent my life trying to do everything different than they did; to make better and divergent choices–to be my own person on my own path, forging ahead without letting my past influence my decisions.

Then I read an article that described me nearly to a tee…it may as well have been written with my name as the subject. After reading, I felt as if I’d been hit in the gut; as if I’ve fallen flat, failed in my endeavours to separate from the path I feared. I never wanted to be, or thought I was, predictable…apparently I was wrong in that assumption as well. Apparently I can be read as easily as a book to those that know the language.  I’m the first to profess that our baggage doesn’t need to define us, that we are free to make choices that separate us from our burdens and our pasts, but it seems that may be harder to live than it is to say. How hard it is, then, to know that deep down, no matter how hard we’ve tried not to be, we are still products of our upbringing. We may walk prescribed paths that we didn’t even know existed, all the while feeling as if we’re blazing our own trail. Apparently we still possess scars that we’ve become blind to from staring at them so often, but that others still see bright as day. We wanted to break the mold that shaped us, to be different, but apparently we are predictable in our journeys, nonetheless.

After careful consideration and contemplation, though, it all boils down to this: I am who I am, though I constantly strive to improve. I am a child of God. I have forgiven, although not forgotten. I am at peace with where I came from and where I will end up, if not necessarily comforted by the path between the two. I have flaws, baggage and hangups, but I also have hope, faith and love. I am a human being doing my best to get this life right, to glorify my savior and treat others around me better than I hope to be treated. Because that’s all I can do. It’s the only recourse I have. I can’t rewrite history and I will not let it define who I am.

Our past may always affect us, but our future is what we make of it…predictable or not. Forgive others and forgive yourself; live, love and share to the best of your ability.

Posted in peace, priorities, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment