Day 12: Five things that draw you to a person

Man, like I need more reasons to cascade my adoration for my beloved bride. I mean, I already talked about the “Five Ways to Win My Heart” on day 1. Guess that I would be better off speaking about five more things, right? Sure, I’ll give it a go.

“No legacy is so rich as honesty” – William Shakespeare

Ah, I LOVE this quote. Often said in short, but coming from “All’s Well That Ends Well” there is SO much in this line that Marina speaks. Ever since attending Dad 2.0 in Washington D.C. a few years ago, I have been working on casting legends as my legacy. Most important to this is honesty. Being able to be honest with yourself, and others, will get you much further in life than a trail of lies and tears. Being honest, to me, means that you can be counted on to do what is right, even if it does not make everyone happy.

“Lack of charisma can be fatal” – Jenny Holzer

Charisma can be a beguiling force to be reckoned with. But, as the quote says, lack of it can be a death sentence. “How does one gain charisma” is something I have heard asked time to time. I think that the answer is far simpler than many may think. Find something that you are passionate about, that drives you. Let that thing guide you, and watch as your life changes.

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out” – Richard Dawkins

Good old common sense, right? Having a standpoint that you believe in is fantastic. However, having the wiliness to hear the other side of the argument will take you far. You do not need to bend the knee to a dissenting belief in order to understand where it is coming from. You merely need to open your eyes, and listen well.

“Be faithful in small things because it in in them that your strength lies” – Mother Teresa

Faith has gotten me through much more than many could bear. Regardless of what the word means to you, having faith in something goes a long way of centering yourself. It gives you common ground with others, and a starting point to solve problems. Faith is the rock upon which you can collapse when the world is coming down on you.

“If I remain true to what’s in my heart, that’s all the success I need” – Steve Val

Yes, I already spoke about being true to self. But this one is different. Being true to heart means being able to listen to your heart, and making the decisions that you must. It is knowing yourself, and staying true to what drives your love of all things great and small. It can, and should, work in tandem with being true to yourself. Being magnanimous is one of the purest ways of showing how true you are to your heart, and to the heart of others.

In each of these things, the others listed in my Day 1 post, and many more sprinkled throughout my writing, my beloved bride has excelled in them all. It is easy to see how she won me over, and still does every day.  But it is wondrous, at least to me, how I was able to do so to her.

Live big, love bigger, and be kind, always

The Long Post, Part 7, Job Plans (part 2)

It is going to take a lot to get there.  What is going to take is where I am having my dilemma.  It is my aspiration that once I have completed my MDiv that I will go back into the US Army as a Chaplin, eventually leading to retirement.  I feel compelled to finish my time in the military, as many of the things that I have been through our men and women in service have a much higher potential to have to face.  It means so much more to have someone helping you that you KNOW has been through it.  Though it may not be EXACTLY the same situation, it is close enough that there is a bridge.  With all that I have been through, the things that I have seen, my many journey’s into the depths of hell and back, I have been geared in a unique and real way to be able to understand the crises that people are going through from time to time.  Now, almost all of this experience has been painful, real, staggering, foundationally shaking and my own.

The role that I would also like to take, after my service is complete, is that of a Crisis Pastor.  .  The way that I view things is that there are two ways that people deal with a crisis (loss of a loved one, divorce, abuse, etc) in the church that requires church leadership to step in.  There are the Crisis Counselor’s and then there is the Pastor, Minister, Priest, Associate Pastor, Etc.  Both of these parts do excellent jobs in what they are set out to do.  But what EXACTLY is it that I would do, what would it look like (my wife uses this phase all the time… Oh how I loathe it… and now use it… oh disdain)?

Therein lies the rub, and is the perfect bridge for the dilemma that I am working through, and being consumed by. Yet, we have some more to cover before we can soak in this dilemma.

The Long Post, Part 6, Job Plans (part 1)

I am, now, feeling strongly compelled to go and dive head first into ministry.  My wife and I are both attending a Christian college, she for her MBA and I am working on my BS in Religion, and hope to follow that with a Masters in Divinity and then a Masters in Christian Counseling.  Many people ask me why I am compelled to go for this, and how I plan to use these degrees, this knowledge, and my life experiences in a real and powerful way. 

I have always been one to look at the long term, more so than the right here, right now. Staying true to form, that is what I would like to discuss first.  I am hoping that there comes an opportunity for me to purchase a large amount of land.  How much? About 750 acres.  What I would like to do is first offer up plots of land for my siblings and family to have so they can build their homes on land that is theirs free and clear.  Second, I would like to open a summer camp, with many different faucets.  We would have a small farm, heavily mapped out property, caches, cabins, and the like.  The summer camp would be two or three weeks long and consist of counseling, communication classes, survival classes, leadership classes and much more.  It would culminate into an excursion that would show the kids that they can do so much more with the skills that they have.  We would spend four days (give or take) out in the wilderness.  We will hike, fish, set up camps, all under the children’s leadership structure with the adults there just in case.  At the end of this we would have a ceremony showing the children all that they have accomplished.  This camp would have times for troubled youth, aspiring leaders, and children with disabilities, all with curriculum set up for what they can do, and what the goals are.  I would hope (depending on funding) to be able to employ survival experts from the military, health professionals, councilors, teachers and many more.

The Long Post, Part 5, My Testimony (part 2)

Where best for us to begin, but in the beginning.  I had an awesome childhood, parents that the parents of my peers could not stand up against in value, love, compassion or ability.  So many fond memories draw up my childhood.  We moved around A LOT, which meant that my brothers were (and still are) my best friends, for no one knew me long enough to be such.  Being the oldest of 4 (and having parents that were foster parents to countless children) meant I was able to glean so much experience as a child.  When I was 13 my parents filed for divorce.  I know that divorce is something that seems (sadly) to be more and more common, so I will not dwell here.  I will say that I do not blame anyone for the divorce, nor will I try to figure it all out.  After high school I went into the Army.  My how I loved those years, and who I became.  I met a girl, and through a fun night, she became pregnant and at the age of 19 I decided to man up and I married her.  Our marriage was not the best, being young and I constantly being away.  We went through a huge number of difficulties that eventually resulted in my divorcing her.  As for those difficulties, it is best that I do not talk about them here… though if you really want to know all you have to do is ask.  During my first stent in the Army I was deployed and brought some demons back with me that will (more than likely) forever haunt my nightmares as well as forever changed me.  I do suffer from PTST and it goes mostly untreated.  Let’s face it, there are countless others out there that have things far worse than I do, they need the help… I can make due.  After a few years in college I spent some time being engaged to an amazing woman.  This did not go to fruition.  It was not for a lack of love, or understanding.  It was more likely that we were amazing friends that tried to take it one or two steps further… should not have, but are not worse for the wear of it.  I do think of her as a close friend that I am glad to have in my life.  From the point that I entered the Army until this point I went through so many things, I had way too many funerals and experience’s than one should.  But, through it all, there was this one thing that kept me going.  There was the fact that through it all, God NEVER gave up on ME.  I cannot express to you in the few short words here the hell that I have seen in this world.  Though I have gotten much better about talking about some of it, there is just not enough bandwidth here.  However, I can say, that through the hell that I have seen, He has never lost sight of me.  Nor has he given me more than I could take, regardless of what I thought at the time, I made it.  There have been countless thoughts of ending it all, but I did not succumb to them.  For if HE loves me, after the things that I have seen, done, been asked to do, experienced, and lived through, then I should have faith in Him that things are all for a greater and higher purpose.  It is for this reason that I believe that JC is my Lord and savior.  That I know that when we are in the thick of it all, that there is a way through it all, and it is Him.  That I am in love with the story of Job (yet another posting) and I see so much that people pass over.  How can I know this?  On August 27th 2010 I met my (now) wife for the first time.  On October 5th 2010 we went on our first date.  On March 27th 2011 she said “Yes”.  On December 11th 2011 she said “I Do”. Finally, on August 5th 2011 we found out that we were pregnant.  Ladies and gentlemen, my wife is the answer to all of my prayers, tears, shouts, and cries in the night. In more ways than I can express.  She is my “halleluiah” (listen to the song by Jeff Buckley…seriously).  If God can give me a second, third and many other chances, and he finds me deserving of His love (of which I DO NOT deserve) then that leaves me shaken to the core, standing in the freezing rain that is life, surrounded by the warmth of faith.


I guess that this is not my full testimony.  But, I think that it serves if purpose.  As is everything that I post, this is open to comment, questions and the like.

The Long Post, Part 4, My Testimony (part 1)

This is one of those things that I constantly feel compelled to write, work on, and talk about.  However, there always seems to be something that prevents this from happening.  As I have stated, and as those of you whom know me already have the knowledge of, my life has been full of its ups and downs.  Granted, I know what most of you are thinking, so has everyone else’s.  There are, however, some stark differences between my ups and down and many others.  I could, and have been asked to many times, write a book on the things that I have been through… who knows, maybe someday.  This book would not be a short story; it would be a full blown novel, both in length as well as depth of context.  However, for this posting, I will keep it as concise as I can, while still imparting some of the hell that I have seen.

The Long Post, Part 3, My Theology (part 2)

This leaves us with the third and final part of this piece is NOT the least by any means.  We have before us the 10 commandments to live by as a guideline.  JC takes all ten of these commandments and narrows them down to the dual emphasis of them in Mark 12: 28-31;

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

   29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a]30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

Now, I have been turned on to a group called “Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets”.  For anyone looking for Christian music that does not sound like the norm (think Carbon Leaf), this is an awesome group to listen to. Anyway, they have a song called “Holy Ghost” in which they put this idea into a beautiful, lyrical phrase: “Love your God with your heart, love your neighbor as your own and the rest is just a guess as good as mine”.  We, as Christians, are called to primarily love God with all that we have, and then love our neighbors as God loves us.  Respect, understanding, compassion, all these and more are part of this love.   This love for God and for that of our neighbor (which to clarify is EVERYONE), should consume us and show through us.

So, here I have imparted a little of my theological belief.  I assure you there is much more to my foundation than what I have expressed here, and I would love to converse (not debate) with anyone on any of these topics, as well as any others.  So, with the same grace and understanding that I try to utilize with anyone else, please extend that to me as we continue down this path.

The Long Post, Part 2, My Theology (part 1)

I am Christian.  I do my best to make sure that my lifestyle is as close to that of a good Christian.  That is a good Christian in my point of view.  I have many different reasons for my point of view, and I assure you that they are all well founded and thought out. I have a large scope of understanding of MANY different religions throughout the world.  I have done my best throughout my life to try to take into consideration what theological standpoints people may be coming from when we are discussing issues.  Throughout my life I have seen the paths that I felt that I must go down open and close.  This has afforded me the opportunity to always be listening.  There are three main parts to my theology that need to be noted.  First is that I believe that the acceptance of JC as our Lord and savior is a HUGE deal.  It is so much more than an utterance of a few words, calling yourself a Christian, and then going to church.  It SHOULD shake the foundations of who you are, and make you strive to be better.  It should show in all that you do (and yes, I fail miserably at this part… but I think that we all do).  The second part of what I believe is that as Christians there comes a point when we just need to shut up and listen.  This comes firmly from Elijiah’s encounter with God in 1 Kings 19:11-13:

11 The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”

   Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

We often allow so much to consume us that we seem to have issues “hearing God”.  Part of the way that I communicate through prayer, fasting and meditation is by letting everything else fall off by the wayside and focus on Him. 

The Long Post, Part 1, Introduction

And so it begins… As I have stated, I am working through some stuff from many different angles.  Now, this topic is going to be heavy on the spiritual side.  So, to make this as easily digestible as I can, I am breaking this up into parts.  The ‘tidbits’ as I will call them will cover different aspects of this singular issue.  As it is based on my faith, I will have to include “My Theology” and “My Testimony”.  As it pertains to my prospective career field I will have a section about “My Job Plans”.  After that, I will do my best to surmise all that I can that encompass the crux of the issue that I am having.  All that I ask is that you remain open minded, patient, and please respond, if you feel lead to.  The postings will come at an interval of one a day… as that is how I like it.  So, let’s dive into the cloudy shallow end… shall we.

Just wanted to share this…

Keeping the context of my last post in mind, as a father I will be called to reflect Gods love that he has for us on my children, I found this while doing research… I am more than man enough to admit that when I read this, and my beautiful wife was asleep for the day, I was crying… happy tears.  I AM GOING TO BE A DAD, I am scared out of my mind, and a man can be brought to tears.

Father’s Love Letter

My Child ~
You may not know me, but I know everything about you ~ Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up ~ Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways ~ Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered ~ Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image ~ Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being ~ Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring ~ Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived ~ Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation ~ Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book ~ Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live ~ Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made ~ Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother’s womb ~ Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born ~ Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me ~ John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love ~ 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you ~ 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your father ~ 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could ~ Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father ~ Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand ~ James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs ~ Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope ~ Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love ~ Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore ~ Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing ~ Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you ~ Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession ~ Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul ~ Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things ~ Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me ~ Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart ~ Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires ~ Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine ~ Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles ~ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you ~ Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart ~ Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes ~ Revelation 21:3-4
And I’ll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth ~ Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus ~ John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed ~ John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being ~ Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you ~ Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled ~ 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you ~ 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love ~ Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me ~ 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again ~ Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I’ll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen ~ Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father ~ Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is ~ Will you be my child? ~ John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you ~ Luke 15:11-32
                                               Love, Your Dad, Almighty God