Monday, July 28, 2008

running back

my mind's all a jumble this morning. self induced depression resulting from drinking too much last night. couldn't sleep and now i'm all a mess. i didn't get out of control drunk, i just didn't stick to my pre-determined limit and that's depressing. i shouldn't allow it to be depressing. it's all in perspective. i used to not control my drinking at all when in a social drinking situation. 2 years ago i decided enough was enough and limited myself to no more than 3 beers or 2 drinks at any given time. i was true to that for 2 years. i enjoyed it and last night i failed it. see how i make it a failure even though it was 2 years of success? 2 years of success!!! be happy dammit! be excited that you succeeded this long and just plug this into the memory bank of - you didn't cease to be human, nor do you have this drinking thing under control. i have to plan purposefully when i go out or i will forget. i think i was even more disappointed with myself because my wife had the forethought to remind me and i ignored her warning. another failure in my mind but... in my mind i judge my life's value thus far based far more on my failures than i do my achievements. i need to change that.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


i can feel myself slipping into what i'll call a funk. maybe it's depression, maybe it's not. i don't know and really don't care to know. i can only see through my own eyes, both physically and experientially, and with those two views don't see the chemical nature of depression. i'm not in any way saying that chemical imbalances don't occur in other people, i just don't believe them to occur in me. my funks are geared around bad decision making, poor time management, avoidance of potential conflict, fear of the unknown and the list goes on...i've been told in the past that these are a result of imbalances and would be easier to deal with if put on some regular type of medication. i've tried natural/herbal remedies in the past but didn't see much of a difference other than the regimen of taking them brought more awareness and structure to my life which inevitably helped me with my funk. so why is it so hard for me to follow the regimen, to build structure? laziness. i'm not a lazy person per se but do have lazy tendencies especially when it comes to things i don't want to do. my motivation is mostly driven by others peoples reactions. that's horrible. i should be motivated personally. i'm not. i'm learning as i get older that changes that are made because of others' reactions will inevitably not hold for any length of time. i wanted to quit smoking for years but failed over and over until i wanted to do it. i had to get to the point where the enjoyment was no longer worth the risk. i have a lot of areas in my life that i'm not there yet - where the enjoyment of whatever outweighs any of the negatives. i love food and eat more than i should. as my metabolism has slowed i'm now getting a gut. the enjoyment of the food, however outweighs the larger pant size. beer... umhh beer! ditto the last sentence. leisure time - enjoy it too much. should work harder and better balance my down time. i watch tv most nights as a form of relaxation, probably could find something better than tv. money. love to spend it. need to save it more. And the list goes on...

i guess the key is to be comfortable with the process of fixing or changing habits. my comfort level wanes at times and i believe that is when the funk/depression appears. what's a healthy comfort? i guess anything that's not just disguising justification of a bad habit. it's OK to be an imperfect human. it's OK to make mistakes. easy to say; hard to believe.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Self Control


- John T. as posted on "Losing My Religion" blog (

memory has a lot to do with it as well...

People who forget the past repeat it.

How do we encourage ourselves to remember better? In the heat of the moment we, I, have this fabulous ability to block everything out! I can see no further than the inside of my eyes. Anyone and anything around me fades and all I'm aware of are the emotions I feel - fear, embarrassment, hurt, anger, greed, lust. I cease to be part of a community and retreat inward to the inner most portions on my being. I don't come out until after the repetition is complete. I then have my vision back but it's too late. The world comes alive again and I see the breakdown in community that I've created. It's all part of the process and needn't be cause for self loathing but must be cause for self reflection and growth. I just wish the self reflection and growth would come before the retreat. It does at times and will more in the future. That is where I glean hope. That is where I find freedom.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Faith - something I've been trying to wrap my brain around for a while. Clearly and concisely stated on the link below...

Stupid Church People: Stuff In My Head (3)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Question about absolutes

Do we find details by looking at an absolute


Do we find the absolute by looking at the details?

Random Thoughts - Contentment defines it as:

"Desiring no more than what one has; satisfied."

How many people are actually content? What a gift it would be to be completely satisfied. How ensared I am thinking more of a pleasure will make me satisfied.

what is given is good

guard your desire for more
it consumes
it takes
it robs
it blinds you from seeing that

what is given is good

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Random Thoughts - motorcycle

if i spend the $20k on the motorcycle i'm looking at i'll feel good.

i'll smile. i'll get on and enjoy the ride. the wind

people will look. they'll smile too

my kids will be excited. they'll beg me to ride and look forward to the day they're big enough, old enough for the chance.

i'll keep it immaculately clean. park it in my garage...

right next to my first bike that i had trouble finding time to ride.

right next to my first bike that used to make me smile, that used to make me feel good.

Friday, May 2, 2008

frustration w/ fissures

below is an older post that i forgot to post...

Ughhh. Just spent the past hour reading about....Politics....

I think what's most frustrating to me is the anger. So much anger. The candidates are angry with the current administration and with each other's claims. The republicans are angry with the democrats. The Obama supporters are angry with the Clinton supporters. The bloggers are angry with the print/visual press. Readers are angry with the bloggers on and so on.

People consider me angry yet the anger is bothering me. Hmmm. There's something in that...

I once was told that anger is a secondary emotion; a response to another emotion. I've found that to be true in my life. If one of my kids acts up in a public place I may react in anger but what I'm really feeling is embarrassment. If someone cuts me off driving I may react in anger but I'm really hurt that they didn't put my needs/desires ahead of theirs. It may be simplistic, but I think the anger in politics stems from an embarrassment of losing.

Maybe I'm wrong, maybe I'm right. What I see is a bunch of adults that are more concerned about winning than helping. I'm afraid it's the American way. Maybe it's more fair to say, it's what America has become. That saddens me and encourages me at the same time. It saddens me because, well, it's just sad that we adults can't act in a more mature manner. It encourages me in that maturity is something that comes with time; it can be learned. At our core we're all a bunch of selfish children trying to get what's best for us. It's maturity that allows us to see the short-sightedness of that. Maturity gives us the ability to look long term, to look past ourselves to see what will really give us the greatest sense of satisfaction.

The anger is all around us. It's in our personal relationships, our families, our jobs, our churches, our communities. I guess we just all need to grow up. I read something recently, can't remember who it was who said it but they were resting the knowledge that we don't know. Think about it. As uncomfortable as it is for me, uptight and anal, I CAN rest in the fact that I don't know something. That's not an excuse for laziness or complacency. It's rest. I don't have to know everything. I will never know everything. It's crazy to think that I ever would. God gave me (and most of the population) an incredible mind that's capable of more than I will ever know, but I'm not God. While the pursuit of knowledge is good, the obsession of it can't be. The obsession to gain knowledge can't be. I had to say that twice to make sure it stuck.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Missionaries and Nice People

I helped a friend move this weekend. I didn't think much of it. I've known him for about 18 years now and even though he lives about 5 hours away, he didn't have much help and I was available. End of thought process.

My oldest daughter requested prayer for my safe return while at church. I'm not sure exactly what happened next (getting detailed information from a 10 year old can be a challenge!), it was made clear to my daughter's Sunday School teacher that my friend was not a "Christian" (I'm assuming that some questions from the teacher brought that tid-bit to light as it's a non-issue in my house). The teacher tells my daughter that her father is "like a missionary". I was put off with that at first. Visions of 50 year old bible thumping white men making bush men & women clothes themselves "in a more befitting manner" were running through my mind. After pondering it for a while though, I was struck by just how accurate my daughter's Sunday School teacher was. I'm not sure she meant to be but if I'm a follower of Christ, I should do what it was he did. He did speak, but more than that; he did. He got in the trenches with the people that needed help. He fed, he washed, he healed, he loved. I hope I'm not over simplifying his message, but that, to me, seems to be the overwhelming theme. Yes, he also told us to "go and make disciples". I struggle with that. I love my "non-Christian" friends. I do things for them, just as I do things for the friends that are Christian. I don't ask for anything in return. I'm not perfect and I'm well aware that my motivations can be less than altruistic even on a good day. BUT, the fact that the church puts such an emphasis on "recruitment" kinda cheapens it for me. If you do it because you're told to, it can still be a good thing. But it's better if you do it because you truly want to or minimally, because you know it needs to get done. Isn't that a better witness than a missionary that goes to a struggling third world country and lives in a gated home with servants? I understand safety issues, I understand that that same missionary may be bolstering the local economy by hiring "staff", but there's something about that that just rubs me the wrong way. On a human level you can relate to anyone. On a practical level, if you're living in luxury while the people you're there to help are in squalor, can they relate to you? Are they looking at God as a way to wealth? A free ride out of the ghetto?

What stands out to me are people who are genuinely nice. I like to think that people who encountered Jesus looked at him as more than a ticket to Heaven and more as a genuinely nice person. That's what drew people to him.

I have a customer that I visited this morning (I'm in sales). Nice couple that I met a few months back. One of those people that you just connect with on more than a professional level. On my first visit I noticed a door closer he had, original to his building, that was both interesting in how it operated but also beautiful to me as a piece of art. As I do often, I complimented him on the piece. So I go back this morning about 6 months later and as I'm leaving he hands me a box. The closer is inside. I didn't even have to look in the box. I knew what it was. I normally argue with people who try to give me gifts or tips. I'm not comfortable taking them in general and don't think it appropriate for a sales person to take something from a paying customer, but I don't think he was just giving me a gift or a tip. He was extending himself to me. The act of stretching out his hands to give the box to me was so symbolic of what he was doing. He took an object of his that he knew would give me joy, and gave it up. It didn't matter to him the value, the object wasn't important at all; the effect it had was all that mattered. It was genuine. What a statement about him. That sticks in my mind. I'll remember that more than I'll remember someone standing up in front of a few hundred people and giving a sermon. That is a witness to me. That makes me want to get to know him more; to understand why he did that.

If we do what Christ did, we jump right into the trenches to help and love people. Helping and loving people doesn't mean you have to "witness" to them. I hope the teacher didn't have that in mind, and it doesn't really matter because my daughter understands that serving is most often more powerful than speaking.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Is church, as we know it in 21st Century America, necessary? Is it what God intended? Is it the same or even similar to what we see in the New Testament? If not, what should it be?

I'm not a member or attender of a Church but was raised in it (Orthodox Presbyterian). Most things Church get me pretty angry. What I see on TV and what I experienced when I did go and growing up was, to me, disingenuous.

That's pretty harsh and I realize that it's a gross generalization. I've been actively involved in Churches for most of my life up to about 6 months ago when I got frustrated enough to leave. On the surface, they can do a lot of good. But as "deep" as they try to be, I don't think most ever get beneath the surface of their constituents, nor do they want to. It's uncomfortable. It's tough and it leads to disappointments that make most uncomfortable with what they claim God through Jesus is willing and able to do. They bring you in (some to the point they could make millions as recruiters - but wait; they do!)and woo you. They make you feel good about yourself and then put you to work bringing in other people. It's now your job to woo. If you don't woo, there must be a problem. Do you have a problem? Give it to Jesus, he'll help you through it. Wait, Jesus hasn't taken it away yet? You haven't shown any signs of progression or growth? Really? Well, then there must be a problem with you! Maybe there's a problem with your salvation! Maybe you were never saved! You just thought you were but since we no longer see any evidence of your salvation, you must not be. Oh, and the position of authority that you're in, that lead roll you play in anything church, well, you can't do it anymore. What would the general congregation think if someone in a leadership roll...

I think I've made my point. And, so you don't think of me as an embittered person who just experienced the above, I haven't. I've never been asked to leave a Church. I've never been put under Church discipline formal or informal. I have, however, witnessed the nuances of what I outlined in the extreme above, time and time again; to the point where I no longer wanted to be a part of an organization that perpetrates and perpetuates them. To me, that is what the Church does.

So, please, respond with your thoughts. Don't rip me apart as my intention was not to rip the body of the Church apart. If you're a Church goer, I don't look down on you, just question the organization you're a part of. I'm sure there are many Churches that don't do what I described above. The five Churches I've been a part of, however, have all done it in some way shape or form. My goal is not to tear down the body, rather, figure out what that body SHOULD look like. I don't think I have the answers, I just question if the Church as we know it does...